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W'r ■; 5" 2 

^orbarb CoOege Itlnrarp 


















APF 6 190J 

Copyright, 1899, 1900, 1901, by 
The Centuky Co. 

THt DCVtiMt PnM. 















INDEX 359 




A Street Row in the East End Frontispiece 

Map of East London , 5 

London Street, Limehouse 11 

A Typical Street in Bethnal Green 15 

An East End Wharf 25 

An East End Factory 31 

Barge- Builders 36 

The Water-Gate of London: Tower Bridge Looking Toward 

St. Paitl's 43 

The Bank of "The Pool." Looking Toward Tower Bridge 49 

In the Docks 53 

The Tower of London 57 

The Water-Gate of London: Tower Bridge from the East 

Side of the Tower 63 

The Turn of the Tide on the Lower Thames .... 69 

Coming Up the Lower Thames with the Tide . . . . 75 

Off ShaDwell 80 

Ratcliffe-Cross Stairs 83 

Limehouse Basin and Church 89 

The Thames Side at Limehouse 93 

Greenwich Hospital 97 

Wade Street, Limehouse 117 

In an East End Gin-Shop 125 

The British Workman in Epping Forest 131 

Brook Street, Limehouse 139 

• • 


■*■"•-■— ■■■^ 



An August Bank-Holiday in the East End 145 

A Music-Hall 150 

The West India Dock Gates 157 

The Barges that Lie Down the Thames 163 

East London Loafers 169 

The *« Hooligans'* 175 

Sunday Gambling 179 

Whitechapel Shops 190 

A Corner in Petticoat Lane 197 

A **Schnorrer'* (Beggar) of the Ghetto 200 

East and West Ham 215 

East and West Ham, from the Marshes 215 

Salvation Army Shelter 232 

Sandwich-men 245 

**A Quiet Dullness" 259 

The Street and Old Church Tower, Hackney . , . .262 

An East London Suburb, Overlooking Hackney Marshes « 265 

Clapton 269 

The Old Church, Stoke Newington 272 

A Street in Stoke Newington 274 

House in Stoke Newington in which Edgar Allan Poe Lived . 277 

Hampstead Heath, Looking **Hendon Way" 293 

The Shooting-Gallery 299 

On Margate Sands 305 

Toynbee Hall and St. Jude's Church 312 

The New Whitechapel Art Gallery 322 

The East London Mission 329 

The New Model Dwellings 336 

Dr. Barnardo's Home, Stepney Causeway 340 

Mile End Almshouses 347 

**The Bridge of Hope," A Well-known East End Night 

Refuge 355 






IN my previous books on London I have found it necessary 
to begin with some consideration of the history and an- 
tiquities of the district concerned. For instance, my book 
on Westminster demanded this historical treatment, because 
Westminster is essentially an old historical city with its roots 
far down in the centuries of the past : once a Roman station ; 
once the market-place of the island; once a port; always a 
place of religion and unction ; for six hundred years the site 
of the King's House ; for five hundred years the seat of Par- 
liament ; for as many the home of our illustrious dead. But 
with East London there is no necessity to speak of history. 
This modem city, the growth of a single century, — ^nay, of 
half a century, — ^has no concern and no interest in the past; 
its present is not affected by its past ; there are no monuments 
to recall the past; its history is mostly a blank — ^that blank 
which is the history of woods and meadows, arable and pas- 
ture land, over which the centuries pass, making no more 
mark than the breezes of yesterday have made on the waves 
and waters of the ocean. 

It is, however, necessary that the reader should understand 
exactly what I mean by East London. For this purpose I 



have prepared a small map showing the part of Greater Lon- 
don, which in these pages stands for East London. I include 
all that area which lies east of Bishopsgate Street Without 
and north of the river Thames; I include that area newly 
covered with houses, now a densely populated suburb, lying 
east of the river Lea; and I include that aggregation of 
crowded towns, each large enough to form an important city 
by itself, formed of the once rural suburban villages called 
Hackney, Clapton, Stoke Newington, Old Ford, Stepney, 
Bow and Stratford. 

In order to save the trouble of a long description, and be- 
cause the reader ought to know something of the natural 
features of the ground on which East London stands, I have 
presented on the map certain indications by which the reader, 
with a little study, may make out for himself as much of 
these natural features as are necessary. He will see, for in- 
stance, that the parts now lying along the bank of the river 
were formerly either foreshore or marshland, overflowed at 
every high tide, and lying below a low, natural cliff, which 
receded inland till it met the rising ground of the bank of 
the river Lea. 'The figures on the map mark the sites 
of villages successively reclaimed from the river by a dyke 
or sea-wall ; if the reader were to visit these riverside parishes 
he would find in many places the streets actually lower than 
the high tide of the river, but protected by this sea-wall, now 
invisible and built over. North of the cliff was a level ex- 
panse of cultivated farms, woods and orchards, common 
ground and pasture land. 

This level ground was a manor belonging to the Bishop 
of London; the farmers, huntsmen, fowlers, and fishermen 
occupying it were his tenants ; he was jealous over encroach- 
ments, and would not permit the City to stretch out its arms 
over his domain. The history of the manor belongs to the 
antiquary: to the East Londoner himself it has no interest; 
and indeed, there is very little to tell. That Captain Cour- 





ageous, \N'at Tyler, marched his men across this manor. 
They came by the road marked "To Bow." One of our 
kings held a Parliament in the Bishop's Palace ; heretics were 
occasionally burned here; there were one or two monastic 
houses ; a bishop's palace there was ; and there was one parish 
church, for the large parish called Stebenhithe, now Stepney. 
Farmhouses were scattered about; there were orchards and 
gardens, lovely woods, broad pastures, acres of waWng com. 
The citizens of London, though this place belonged to the 
bishop, had the right of hunting and fishing in its woods and 
over its low-l>'ing levels ; it was a right of the most valuable 
kind, for the marshes were full of wild birds and the woods 
were full of creatures fit for man's food. In the year 1504, 
Sir Thomas More, writing to his friend Dean G)let, then 
Vicar of Stepney, says: "Wheresoever you look, the earth 
yieldeth you a pleasant prospect; the temperature of the air 
f resheth you, and the very bounds of the heavens do delight 
you. Here you find nothing but bounteous gifts of nature 
and saint-like tokens of innocency." 

The whole of the area between the northern road, which is 
our western boundary, and the river Lea is now covered with 
houses and people ; the peninsula, marked on the map by the 
number "VII," consisting of low and malarial ground, long 
stood out against occupation, but is now almost entirely cov- 
ered over and absorbed by factories and workmen's resi- 
dences ; what is more, the people of the original East London 
have now overflowed and crossed the Lea, and spread them- 
selves over the marshes and meadows beyond. This popula- 
tion — ^not to speak of the suburban villas, which now cover 
many square miles — represents a movement and a migration 
of the last twenty years. It has created new towns which 
were formerly rural villages. West Ham, with a population 
of nearly 300,000; East Ham, with 90,000; Stratford, with 
its "daughters," 150,000; and other "hamlets" similarly over- 
grown. Including, therefore, as we must include, these new 


populations, we have an aggregate of nearly two millions 
of people, living all together in what ought to be a single city 
under one rule. This should be a very remarkable city for 
its numbers alone; the population is greater than that of 
Berlin or Vienna, or St. Petersburg, or Philadelphia. As a 
crowded mass of humanity alone it should demand serious 
consideration. In other respects, however, it is more re- 
markable still. You will acknowledge with me that in these 
respects and from these points of view, no other city in the 
world is like East London. 

To begin with, it is not a city by organization ; it is a collo- 
cation of overgrown villages lying side by side. It had, 
until this year (1900), no center, no heart, no represen- 
tative body, no mayor, no aldermen, no council, no wards; 
it has not inherited Folk's Mote, Hustings, or Ward Mote; 
it has therefore no public buildings of its own. There 
are vestry halls and town halls, but they are those of the 
separate hamlets — Hackney * or Stratford — ^not East Lon- 
don. It has no police of its own; the general order is 
maintained by the London County Council. It is a city full 
of churches and places of worship, yet there are no cathe- 
drals, either Anglican or Roman; it has a suflficient sup- 
ply of elementary schools, but it has no public or high 
school, and it has no colleges for the higher education and 
no university; the people all read newspapers, yet there 
is no East London paper except of the smaller and local 
kind; the newspapers are imported from Fleet Street; it 
has no monthly magazines nor any weekly popular jour- 
nals, not even penny comic papers — these also are imported ; 
it has no courts of law except the police courts; out of the 
one hundred and eighty free libraries, great and small, of 
London, only nine or ten belong to this city — two of these 
are doubtful, one at least is actually falling to pieces by 
neglect and is in a rapid state of decay. In the streets there 
are never seen any private carriages ; there is no fashionable 


quarter; the wealthy people who live on the northeast side 
near Epping Forest do their shopping in the City or the West 
End; its places of amusement are of the humbler kind, as 
we shall learn in due course ; one meets no ladies in the prin- 
cipal thoroughfares; there is not visible, anywhere, the out- 
ward indication of wealth. People, shops, houses, convey- 
ances — ^all together are stamped with the unmistakable seal 
of the working-class. 

Perhaps the strangest thing of all is this : in a city of two 
millions of people there are no hotels ! Actually, no hotels ! 
There may be, perhaps, sprung up of late, one or two by 
the docks, but I think not; I know of none. No hotels. 
That means, of course, that there are no visitors. Is there 
anywhere else in the world a great city which has no vis- 
itors? It is related of a New Zealander that he once came 
over intending to make a short stay in London. He put 
up at a hotel in the City of London itself, on the eastern 
side; his wandering feet took him every day into White- 
chapel and Wapping, which, he imagined, constituted the 
veritable London of which he had read. After three or four 
weeks of disappointed monotony in search of London's splen- 
dors he sought a returning steamer at the docks. "London," 
he said, "is a big place ; but for public buildings and magnifi- 
cence and rich people, give me Canterbury, New Zealand." 

There are no visitors to demand hotels; there are also 
none to ask for restaurants. Consequently there are none. 
Dining-rooms, coffee-rooms, and places providing for the 
working-men, places of the humbler kind where things to 
eat may be had, there are in plenty. Most of the working 
folk take their dinners in these places; but the restaurant 
of the better kind, with its glittering bars and counters, its 
white tables, its copious catering, and its civil waiters, does 
not exist in East London. Is there any other city of the 
world, with even a tenth part of this population, of which 
these things would be said? This crowded area, this mul- 


titude of small houses, this aggregation of mean streets — 
these things are the expression and the consequence of an 
expansion of industries during the last seventy years on a 
very large and unexpected scale; East London suddenly 
sprang into existence because it was unexpectedly wanted. 
A map of London of the year 1830 shows a riverside fringe 
of hamlets — a cluster of houses outside the City of Lon- 
don and along the two principal roads marked on my map. 
For the whole of the district outside and around there are 
lanes and paths through fields and orchards and market 
gardens, with occasional churches and clusters of houses 
and detached country residences. 

I have said that there is no municipality, that there are 
no mayor, aldermen, or wards; one reason is that it is a 
manufacturing, not a trading, city; the wharves and docks 
are for the use and convenience of the merchants of the 
great trading city, their neighbor; manufacturers are not 
a gregarious folk ; they do not require a bourse or exchange ; 
they can get along without a mercantile center; they do 
not feel the want of a guildhall; they do not understand 
that they have any bond of common interest except the 
necessity of keeping order. The city sprang up so rapidly, 
it has spread itself in all directions so unexpectedly, it has 
become, while men, unsuspecting, went about their daily 
business, suddenly so vast that there has been no opportunity 
for the simultaneous birth or creation of any feeling of civic 
patriotism, civic brotherhood, or civic pride. 

The present condition of East London suggests to the 
antiquary, in certain respects, the ancient condition of the 
City of London before the people obtained their commune 
and their mayor. For as the City was divided into wards, 
which were manors owned and ruled by aldermen, with no 
central organization, no chief or leader of the citizens, so 
East London, until the changes in last year's Act of Parlia- 
ment, consisted of parishes, vestries, boards of guardians, and 

London Street, Limebouse. 


other boards, with no cohesion, no central government, and, 
in important matters, such as fire, water, sanitation, police, 
education, law, subject to external authority. 

There are no newspapers, but then their newspapers are 
published in Fleet Street, only two or three miles away. 
But their books — ^where do they get their books? There 
are no book-shops. Here is a city of two millions of peo- 
ple, and not a single bookseller's shop. True, there are one 
or two second-hand book-shops; there are also a few shops 
which display, among other goods, a shelf or two of books, 
mostly of the goody kind — ^the girls' Sunday-school prize 
and the like. But not a single place in which the new books 
of the day, the better literature, the books of which the 
world is talking, are displayed and offered for sale. I do 
not think that publishers' travelers ever think it necessary 
to visit 'East London at all. Considering the population, 
I submit that this is a very remarkable omission, and one 
that can be observed in no other city in the world a tenth 
part so thickly populated. 

Some twelve years ago I was the editor of a weekly sheet 
called the "People's Palace Journal." In that capacity I 
endeavored to encourage literary effort, in the hope of light- 
ing upon some unknown and latent genius. The readers of 
the "Journal" were the members of the various classes con- 
nected with the educational side of the place. They were 
young clerks chiefly — some of them very good fellows. 
They had a debating society, which I attended from time to 
time. Alas ! They carried on their debates in an ignorance 
the most profound, the most unconscious, and the most self- 
satisfied. I endeavored to persuade them that it was desir- 
able at least to master the facts of the case before they spoke. 
In vain. Then I proposed subjects for essays, and offered 
prizes for verses. I discovered, to my amazement, that, 
among all the thousands of these young people, lads and 
girls, there was not discoverable the least rudimentary indi- 


cation of any literary power whatever. In all other towns 
there are young people who nourish literary ambitions, with 
some measure of literary ability. How should there be any 
in this town, where there were no books, no papers, no jour- 
nals, and, at that time, no free libraries? 

Another point may be noted. Ours is a country which 
has to maintain, at great cost, a standing army of three 
hundred thousand men, or thereabouts, for the defense of 
the many dependencies of the Empire. These soldiers are 
all volunteers; it is difficult, especially in times of peace, to 
get recruits in sufficient numbers; it is very important, most 
important, that the martial spirit of our youth should be 
maintained, and that the advantages which a few years' dis- 
cipline with the colors, with the subsequent chances of em- 
ployment, possess over the dreary life of casual labor, 
should be kept constantly before the eyes of the people. 
Such is the wisdom of our War Office that the people of East 
London, representing a twentieth part of the population of 
the whole country, have no soldiers quartered on them ; that 
they never see the pomp of war; that they never have their 
blood fired with the martial music and the sight of men 
marching in order; and that in their schools they are never 
taught the plain duties of patriotism and the honor of fight- 
ing for the country. In the same spirit of wisdom their 
country's flag, the Union Jack, is never seen in East Lon- 
don except on the river; it does not float over the schools; 
the children are not taught to reverence the flag of the 
country as the symbol of their liberties and their responsi- 
bilities; alone among the cities of the world. East London 
never teaches her children the meaning of patriotism, the his- 
tory of their liberties, the pride and the privilege of citizen- 
ship in a mighty empire. 

What appearance does it present to the visitor? There 
is, again, in this respect as well, no other city in the world 
in the least like East London for the unparalleled magni- 


tude of its meanness and its monotony. It contains about 
five hundred miles of streets, perhaps more — a hundred or 
two may be thrown in; they would make little difference. 
In his haste, the traveler who walks about these streets for 
the first time declares that they are all exactly alike. They 
contain line upon line, row upon row, never-ending lines. 

A Typical Street in Bethnal Green. 

rows always beginning, of houses ail alike — that is to say, 
there are differences, but they are slight; there are work- 
men's houses of four or five rooms each, all turned out of 
the same pattern, as if built by machinery; there are rows 
of houses a little better and larger, but on the same pattern, 
designed for foremen of works and the better sort of em- 
ployees; a little farther off the main street there are the 
same houses, but each with a basement and a tiny front gar- 
den — they are for city clerks; and there are dingy houses 
up squalid courts, all of the same pattern, but smaller, dirty, 
and disreputable. The traveler, on his first visit, wanders 
through street after street, through miles of streets. He 


finds no break in the monotony; one street is like the next; 
he looks down another, and finds it like the first two. In 
the City and in the west of London there are old houses, 
old churches, porches that speak of age, courts and lanes 
that have a past stamped upon them, though the houses 
themselves may be modern. Here there seems to be no 
past ; he finds no old buildings ; one or two venerable churches 
there are; there is one venerable tower — but these the trav- 
eler does not discover on his first visit, nor perhaps on his 
second or his third. 

As are its streets, so, the hasty traveler thinks, must be 
the lives of the people — obscure, monotonous, without am- 
bition, without aims, without literature, art or science. They 
help to produce the wealth of which they seem to have so 
little share, though perhaps they have their full share; they 
make possible splendors which they never see ; they work to 
glorify the other London, into which their footsteps never 
stray. This, says the traveler, is the Unlovely City, alike 
unlovely in its buildings and in its people — a collocation of 
houses for the shelter of a herd; a great fold in which the 
silly sheep are all alike, where one life is the counterpart 
of another, where one face is the same as another, where 
one mind is a copy of its neighbor. 

The Unlovely City, he calls it, the City of Dreadful Mo- 
notony! Well, in one sense it is all that the casual traveler 
understands, yet that is only the shallow, hasty view. Let 
me try to show that it is a city full of human passions and 
emotions, human hopes and fears, love and' the joys of love, 
bereavement and the sorrows of bereavement ; as full of life 
as the stately City, the sister City, on the west. Monotonous 
lines of houses do not really make or indicate monotonous 
lives; neither tragedy nor comedy requires the palace or the 
castle; one can be human without a coronet, or even a car- 
riage ; one may be a clerk on eighty pounds a year only, and 
yet may present, to one who reads thought and interprets 


action, as interesting a study as any artist or aesthete, poet 
or painter. 

Again, this city is not, as our casual observer in his 
haste affirms, made up entirely of monotonous lives and mean 
houses; there are bits and comers where strange effects of 
beauty can be seen ; there is a park more lovely than that of 
St. James's; there are roads of noble breadth; there is the 
ample river; there are the crowded docks; there are fac- 
tories and industries; there are men and women in East 
London who give up their lives for their brothers and their 
sisters; and beyond the city, within easy reach of the city, 
there are woods and woodlands, villages and rural haunts, 
lovelier than any within reach of western London. 

It will be my task in the following pages to lay before 
my readers some of the aspects of this city which may re- 
deem it from the charges of monotony and unloveliness. Do 
not expect a history of all the villages which have been swal- 
lowed up. That belongs to another place. We have here 
to do with the people ; humanity may be always picturesque ; 
to the philosopher every girl is beautiful because she is a girl ; 
every young man is an object of profound interest because 
he is a man, and of admiration because he is young. You 
have no idea how many gfirls, beautiful in their youth; how 
many women, beautiful in their lives ; how many young men 
of interest, because they have their lives before them; how 
many old men of interest, because their lives are behind 
them, are living in this city so monotonous and so mean. 






SOME time ago I compiled a list of the various crafts car- 
ried on in London during the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, simply using for the purpose the more accessible 
books. It was a time when everything wanted for the daily 
use of the people was made or prepared by the craftsmen of 
the City, always excepting the things of luxury in demand 
only by the richer sort, such as foreign wines, silks, velvets, 
fine weapons, inlaid armor, swords of tempered steel, spices 
and oil and carpets. The London weaver sat at his loom, 
the London housewife sat at her spinning-wheel, the London 
cutler made knives for the Londoner, the "heaumer" made 
helmets, the "loriner" made bits and spurs, and so on. Yet 
the number of the crafts was only between two and three 
hundred, so simple was the life of the time. Then I made 
another compilation, this time for the eighteenth cen- 
tury. In the interval of four hundred years many new in- 
ventions had been made, many new arts had come into exist- 
ence, many new wants had been created — life had become 
much more complex in character. My list of crafts and 
trades had actually doubled, though many things were made 
out of London. At the present moment even, when de- 
pendence is largely necessary on outside industrial centers 
and when no great city is sufficient to herself in manufac- 
tures, when whole classes of manufactures have been localized 
in other parts, when one might fairly expect a large reduc- 

3 21 


tion in the number of trades, we find, on the other hand, a 
vast increase. Especially is this increase remarkable in East 
London, which, as a home of industries, hardly existed sev- 
enty years ago. It is now especially a city of the newer 
wants, the modern crafts, the recent inventions and appli- 

East London is, to repeat, essentially and above all things 
a city of the working-man. The vast majority of the people 
work at weekly wages, for employers g^eat or small. But 
the larger employers do not live near their factories, or 
among their people ; you may find at Mile End and elsewhere 
a few houses where wealthy employers have once lived, but 
they have long since gone away. The chief difference be- 
tween the present "City," properly so called, and East Lon- 
don is that in the City everybody — ^principals, clerks, servants, 
workmen, all go away as soon as the offices are closed, and no 
one is left ; in East London the employers go away when the 
factories are closed, but the employees remain. There is 
therefore no sensible diminution in the population on Satur- 
days and Sundays; the streets are never deserted as in the 
City. The manufacturers and employers of East End labor 
live in the country or at the West End, but for the most part 
in the suburbs beyond the river Lea, on the outskirts of 
Epping Forest, where there are very many stately houses, 
standing in their gardens and grounds, occupied by a wealthy 
class whose factories and offices are somewhere about East 

The distribution of the trades curiously follows the old 
mediaeval method, where the men of each trade inhabited their 
own district for purposes of work and had their own place 
recognized and assigned to them in the great daily fair or 
market of Chepe. In Whitechapel, for instance, we may find 
gathered together a very large percentage of those, men and 
women — Polish Jews and others — ^who are engaged in mak- 
ing clothes. In Bethnal Green and in Shoreditch are found 


the followers of the furniture and woodwork trade ; the river- 
side gives lodging to those who live by work in the docks; 
bootmakers are numerous in Mile End, Old Town, and Old 
Ford ; the silk trade still belongs especially to Spitalfields and 
Bethnal Green. The large factories which turn out such a 
boimdless collection of useful, if unlovely, things line the 
riverside of the Isle of Dogs, and the factory hands have 
their houses in newly built streets near their work ; in Hox- 
ton there is carried on an entirely diflferent class of indus- 
tries, chiefly of the smaller kind, such as fur and feather 
dressing; their number and the number of their branches 
and subdivisions are simply bewildering when one begins to 
investigate the way in which the people live. In watch- 
making, which belongs to Clerkenwell, a man will go through 
life in comfort knowing but one infinitesimal piece of work — 
how to make one small bit of a watch ; so in these E^st End 
trades a man or a woman generally knows how to do one 
thing and one thing only, and if that one piece of work cannot 
be obtained the man is lost, for he can do nothing else. In 
cigar-making, for instance, there are many women who do 
nothing all their lives but take out of the tobacco-leaf the 
mid rib; this must be done so that the stalk will be pulled 
out readily without disturbing or abrading the surface of 
the leaf. It is work, too, which is well paid, a "stripper" 
getting from twenty-three to twenty-five shillings a week. 

The division of labor among the population can be arrived 
at from a study of certain tables prepared by Mr. Charles 
Booth for his grtzt work on the "Life and Labor of the 
People of London." For his purpose he takes a population 
of nearly a million — ^to be accurate, 908,958 — ^inhabiting the 
area which he defines as East London and Hackney. My 
own definition of East London, however, includes a much 
larger area, and when we add West Ham, with its large 
population of 270,000, nearly all sprung up in the last quarter 
of a century ; that of East Ham, with 90,000, where, twenty 


years ago, there was but a hamlet and a church in the fields ; 
and Stratford, with Bow, Bromley, and Forest Gate, with 
about 200,000 more, and Walthamstow, with Leyton and 
the suburbs south of Epping. Forest, we have a population 
nearly amounting to two millions. Nor does he include the 
Isle of Dogs, now very thickly populated. Let us, however, 
take Mr. Booth's figures as applicable to his district, which 
is that with which we are most nearly concerned. He has 
ascertained, partly from the last census and partly from inde- 
pendent research and investigation, the main divisions of the 
various industries and the number of people dependent upon 
each. Thus, out of his solid million he could find only 443 
heads of families, representing 1841 souls, and 574 women, 
representing 1536 souls, who were independent of work — 
that is to say, only one person in 600 lived on accumulated 
savings either of himself or his father before him. This 
percentage in an industrial town is extremely small. The 
whole of the rest live by their own work, the greater part 
by industries, but a few by professions. Thus, of the latter 
there are 4485 persons — a very small proportion — supported 
by the professions, meaning the clergy, the medical men, the 
lawyers, the architects, etc. Of clerks and subordinates in the 
professions there are 79,000 persons maintained, there are 
34,600 persons supported by shops of all kinds, there are 
9200 persons supported by taverns and coffee-houses; this 
accounts for less than 140,000. The whole of the remaining 
726,000 live on the wages earned by the breadwinner. 

It is, in fact, altogether an industrial population. If, 
again, we take Mr. Charles Booth's figures in greater detail 
there are seventy-three thousand who depend upon casual 
employment; there are the railway servants, the police, the 
road service, the sailors, and the officials. There are, next, 
those employed in the main divisions of trade — dress, furni- 
ture, building, and machinery — and there are the significant 
items of "sundry artisans," "home industries," "small trades," 

An East End Wharf. 


and "other wage-earners," amounting in all to the support 
of atx>ut eighty-five thousand persons. It is among these 
"sundries" that we are to look for the astonishing variety 
of industries, the strange trades that our complex life has 
called into existence, and the minute subdivisions of every 
trade into branches — ^say, sprigs and twigs — ^in which one 
man may spend his whole life. We are now very far from 
the days when a shoemaker sat down with the leather and his 
awl and worked away until he had completed the whole shoe, 
perfect in all its parts, a shoe of which he was proud as 
every honest workman should be, with no scamping of work, 
no brown paper instead of leather for the heel. The modem 
system leaves no room for pride in work at all; every man 
is part of a machine; the shoe grows without the worker's 
knowledge; when it emerges, not singly but by fifties and 
hundreds, there is no one who can point to it and say, "Lo ! 
I made it. I — with my right hand. It is the outcome of 
my skill." The curse of labor, surely, has never been fully 
realized until the solace of labor, the completion of good 
work, was taken away from the craftsman. Look at the list, 
an imperfect one, of the subdivisions now prevailing in two or 
three trades. Formerly, when a man set himself to make a 
garment of any kind he did the whole of it himself, and was 
responsible for it and received credit for it, and earned wages 
according to his skill. There is now a contractor; he turns 
out the same thing by the score in half the time formerly re- 
quired for one; he divides the work, you see; he employs 
his "baster, presser, machinist, buttonholer, feller, fixer, gen- 
eral hand," all working at the same time to produce the 
cheap clothing for which there is so great a demand. In 
bootmaking the subdivision is even more bewildering. There 
are here the manufacturers, factors, dealers, warehouse men, 
packers, translators, makers of lasts, boot-trees, laces, tips 
and pegs — all these before we come to the bootmaker proper, 
who appears in various departments as the clicker, the 


closer, the fitter, the machinist, the buttonholer, the table 
hand, the sole maker, the finisher, the eyeletter, the rough- 
stuff cutter, the laster, the cleaner, the trimmer, the room 
girl, and the general utility hand. Again, in the furniture and 
woodwork trade there are turners, sawyers, carvers, frame 
makers, cabinet-makers, chair makers, poHshers, upholsterers, 
couch makers, office, bedroom, library, school, drawing-room, 
furniture makers; upholsterers, improvers, fancy-box mak- 
ers, gilders, gluers, and women employed in whichever of 
these branches their work can be made profitable. 

If we turn to women's work as distinct from men's, we 
find even in small things this subdivision. For instance, a 
necktie seems a simple matter; surely one woman might be 
intrusted with the making of a single tie. Yet the work is 
divided into four. There is the woman who makes the 
fronts, she who makes the bands, she who makes the knots, 
and she who makes the "fittings." And in the match- 
making business, which employs many hundreds of women 
and girls, there are the splint makers, the dippers, the ma- 
chinists, the wax-vesta makers, the coil fillers, the cutters 
down, the tape cutters, the box fillers, the packers, and so on. 

It is not my intention in this book to enter into detail 
concerning the work and wages of East London. To do so, 
indeed, with any approach to truth would involve the copy- 
ing of Mr. Charles Booth's book, since no independent single 
investigator could hope to arrive at the mass of evidence 
and the means of estimating and classifying that evidence 
with anything like the accuracy and the extent of informa- 
tion embodied in those volumes. I desire, however, to insist 
very strongly upon the fact that the keynote of East Lon- 
don is its industrial character; that it is a city of the work- 
ing-classes; and that one with another, all except a very 
small percentage, are earners of the weekly and the daily 
wage. I would also point out that not only are the crafts 
multiplied by the subdivisions of contractors, but that every 


new invention, every new fashion, every new custom, starts 
a new trade and demands a new set of working folks; that 
every new industrial enterprise also calls for its new work- 
men and its skilled hands — ^how many thousands during the 
last twenty years have been maintained by the bicycle? As 
for wages, they speedily right themselves as the employer dis- 
covers the cost of production, the possible margin of profit, 
and the level of supply and demand, tempered by the neces- 
sity of keeping the work-people contented and in health. 

Another point to observe is the continual demand for skilled 
labor in new directions. A walk round the Isle of Dogs, 
whose shores are lined with factories producing things new 
and old, but especially new, enables one to understand the 
demand, but not to understand the supply. E^rly in this 
century the general application of gas for lighting purposes 
called for an army of gas engineers, stokers, and fitters and 
makers of the plant required. The development of steam 
has created another army of skilled labor ; the new appliances 
of electricity have called into existence a third army of 
workingmen whose new craft demands far more skill than 
any of the older trades. Consider, again, the chemical de- 
velopments and discoveries; consider the machinery that is 
required for almost every kind of industry; the wonderful 
and lifelike engine of a cotton mill, which deals as delicately 
as a woman's fingers with the most dainty and fragile fiber, 
yet exercises power which is felt in every department of 
the huge mill; consider the simple lathe driven by steam; 
consider the new materials used for the new industries ; con- 
sider the machinery wanted to create other machinery; and 
consider, further, that these developments have all appeared 
during the nineteenth century, that East London is the place 
where most of them, in our country, were first put into prac- 
tice. If, I say, we consider all these things we shall under- 
stand something of the present population of East London. 

Again referring to Mr. Charles Booth's book, there you 


may learn for yourself what is paid to men, women, and chil- 
dren for every kind of work; there you may learn the hours 
employed and all the conditions — sanitary, insanitary, dan- 
gerous, poisonous — of all the industries. It must be enough 
here to note that there are, as might be expected, great varia- 
tions in the wages of the work-people. High skill, whatever 
^ may be the effect, in certain quarters, of sweating, still com- 
mands high wages ; those trades which make the smallest de- 
mand for skill and training are, as might be expected, poorly 
paid. For instance, there is no work which calls for more skill 
than that of the electrical or mechanical engineer, or the engi- 
neer of steam or of gas. Therefore we observe without aston- 
ishment that such a man may receive £3 or £4 a week, while 
the wage of the ordinary craftsman ranges, according to the 
skill required, from iSs, to 35^. a week. In the work of 
women it is well to remember that the lower kinds of work 
are worth from ys. to 12^. in ordinary seasons, and that there 
are some kinds of work in which a woman may make from 
15J. to 25^. a week. In thinking of East London remember 
that the whole of the people (with certain exceptions) have 
to live on wages such as these, while the clerks, who belong 
to a higher social level and have higher standards of com- 
fort, are not in reality much better off with their salaries 
ranging from £80 a year to £150. 

It might be expected that in speaking of trade and indus- 
try we should also speak of the sweating, which is so largely 
carried on in this city of industry. There is, however, noth- 
ing on which so much half-informed invective has been writ- 
ten — and wasted — as on the subject of sweating. For my 
own part, I have nothing to say except what has been already 
said by Mr. Charles Booth, who has investigated the subject 
and for the first time has explained exactly what sweating 
means. The sweater is either the small master or the middle- 
man; the employer practically resigns the responsibility of 
his workmen and makes a contract with a middleman, who 



relieves him of trouble and makes his profit out of the work- 
men's pay. Or the employer finds a middleman who dis- 
tributes the work and collects it, does part of it himself, and 
sweats others, being himself sweated. Or sometimes it is a 
"chamber master" who employs "greeners" — new hands — for 
long hours on wages which admit of bare subsistence — sweat- 
ing, in fact, is the outcome in all its shapes of remorseless 
competition. Many experiments have been tried to conduct 
business on terms which will not allow the sweater's inter- 
ference. These experiments have always ended in failure, 
often because the work-people themselves cannot believe in 
the success of any system except that with which they are 
familiar. Some twelve or fifteen years ago my friend Mrs. 

H started a workshop at St. George's-in-the-East on 

cooperative principles. She made shirts and other things 
of the kind. At first she seemed to be getting on very well ; 
she employed about a dozen workwomen, including a fore- 
woman in whom she placed implicit confidence. Her success- 
ful start, she said, was due entirely to the enthusiasm, the 
zeal, the devotion, of that forewoman. Then a dreadful blow 
fell, for the devoted forewoman deserted, taking with her 
the best of the workwomen, and started a sweating shop 
herself — in which, I dare say, she has done well. My friend 
got over the blow, and presently extended her work and 
enlarged her premises. The enlargement ruined her enter- 
prise; she had to close. Her experience was to the effect 
that it is only by the sweated farthing that in these days of 
cut-throat competition shops which sell things made by hand 
or by the sewing-machine can pay their expenses, that the 
sweater is himself sweated, and that the workwoman, starv- 
ing under the sweating system, mistrusts any other and is 
an element of danger in the very workroom which is founded 
for her emancipation. 

She also discovered that the workgirl requires constant 
supervision and sharp — ^very sharp — ^admonition; she found 


that the system of fines adopted by many workshops saves a 
great deal of trouble both in supervision and in admonition; 
that a gentle manner is too often taken for weakness and for 
ignorance. Arid she impressed upon me the really great truth 
that the working girl is never employed out of sentimental 
kindness, but as a machine, by the right and judicious use of 
which an employer may make a livelihood or even perhaps a 
competence. In other words, when we talk about miserable 
wages we must remember all the circumstances and all the 
conditions, and, she insisted, we must set aside mere senti- 
ment as a useless, or even a mischievous, factor. For my 
own part, I do not altogether agree with my friend. I 
believe in the power and uses of sentiment. Let us by all 
means ascertain all the facts of the case, but let us continue 
our sentiment — our sympathy — with the victim of hard con- 
ditions and cruel competition. 

A remarkable characteristic of East London is the way in 
which the industrial population is constantly recruited from 
the country. I shall speak of the aliens later on. I mean, 
in this place, the influx from the country districts and from 
small country towns of lads or young men and young women 
who are always pouring into East London, attracted by one 
knows not what reports of prosperity, of high wages, and 
greater comforts. If they only knew — ^most of them — ^what 
awaits them in the labyrinthine city! 

Long ago it was discovered that London devours her own 
children. This means that city families have a tendency 
to die out or to disappear. All the city families of impor- 
tance — a very long list can be drawn up— of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries — ^the Bukerels, Basin^^s, Orgars, Battes, 
Faringdons, Anquetils — have disappeared in the fifteenth. 
All the great names of the fifteenth — Whittington, Philpot, 
Chichele, and the rest — ^are gone in the sixteenth; all the 
great names of the sixteenth century have disappeared in 
the eighteenth, and we may ask in vain, "Where are those 


families which were leaders of the City in the beginning of 
the nineteenth?" 

The same thing seems true of the lower levels. I cannot 
here inquire into the reasons; the fact remains that London 
demands the continual influx of new blood, whether for the 
higher or the lower work. At the same time, there is also 
the continual efflux. I should like if it were possible, but 
it would entail an enormous amount of work and research, 
to ascertain how far the descendants of the old Lx)ndon 
families, the rich merchants of the last three or four hundred 
years, are still to be found among our county families. 
There are descendants of Henry Fitz Ailwyn, first mayor of 
London, and there are also descendants of the Thedmars, 
the Brembres, the Philpots, the Walworths. Are there de- 
scendants of the Boleyns and the Greshams? Are there de- 
scendants among the county families and the nobility of those 
city merchants who made their "plum" in the last century, 
and were so much despised by the fashion of .the day ? Fur- 
ther, I should like to ascertain, if possible, how far the old 
London families are represented by descendants in America. 
It would, again, be interesting to learn how many firms of 
merchants still remain of those which flourished in London a 
hundred years ago. And it would also be interesting if we 
could learn, in a long-settled parish of working folk, such 
as Bethnal Green or Spitalfields, how many names still sur- 
vive of the families who were baptized, married, and buried 
at the parish church in the year 1800. The last would be 
an investigation of great and special interest, because no 
one, so far, has attempted to ascertain the changes which 
take place in the rank and file of a London parish, and be- 
cause the people themselves keep no record of their origin, 
and the grandchildren, as a rule, neither ask nor seek to 
know where their grandfathers were bom; they care noth- 
ing for the rock from which they were digged. 

Again I venture to borrow two or three simple figures 


from Mr. Booth. He tested a small colony called an "Irish" 
neighborhood; it consisted of i6o persons. I presume that 
he means i6o heads of families; of these 57 were Londoners 
by birth ; out of London, but in the United Kingdom, 88 
were bom; the remaining 15 were foreigners by birth. And 
out of 693 applicants for relief to the Charity Organization 

Barge- Builders. 

Society in Mile End, Old Town, and St. George's-in-the- 
East, 486, or seventy per cent., were Londoners by birth; 
207, or thirty per cent., were born out of London. 

It may be added that if we take the whole of London it 
is roughly estimated that 630 in the thousand of the popula- 
tion are natives of London, that 307 come from other parts 
of England and Wales, that 13 are Scotch, 21 Irish, 8 colo- 
nists, and 21 of foreign birth. This estimate may have 
been slightly altered by the recent influx of Russian Jews, 


but the difference made by a hundred thousand or so can- 
not be very great. The settlements of the alien, especially 
in East London, will be considered in another chapter. 
Meantime, to one who lives in the suburbs of London — to 
one who considers the men of light and leading in London : 
its artists, men of letters, architects, physicians, lawyers, sur- 
geons, clergy, etc. — ^it seems at first sight as if no one was 
bom in London. The City merchants, however, can, I be- 
lieve, point to a majority of their leaders as natives of Lon- 
don. It would be easy to overstate the case in this respect. 
The statistics, so far as they can be arrived at, as to reli- 
gion are startling. On October 24, 1886, a census was taken 
of church attendance. The results were as follows: Over 
an area including 909,000 souls there were 33,266 who at- 
tended the Church of England in the morning, and 37,410 
who attended in the evening. This means 3.6 per cent, in 
the morning and 4.1 per cent, in the evening, so that out of 
every 100 persons 96 stayed away from church. Taking 
the nonconformist chapels, it was found that 3.7 per cent, 
attended some chapel, while 3.3 per cent, attended the mis- 
sion halls in the evening. These mission halls, with their 
hearty services, the exhortations of the preacher, and the 
enthusiasm of the singing, are crowded. So that, taking all 
together, there were between seven and eight per cent, of the 
population who went to some religious service in the evening. 
This leaves about ninety-two per cent., men and women, boys 
and girls and infants, who did not attend any kind of worship. 
This does not indicate the hatred of religion which is found 
among Parisian workmen; it is simply indifference and not 
hostility, except in special cases and among certain cranks. 
And although he does not go to church the East Londoner is 
by no means loath to avail himself of everything that can be 
got out of the church; he will cheerfully attend at concerts 
and limelight shows; his wife will cheerfully get what she 
can at a rummage sale; and they will cheerfully send their 


children to as many picnics in the country, feasts, and parties 
as may be provided for them by the clergy of the parish. 
But they will not go to church. To this rule there are cer- 
tain exceptions, of which I shall perhaps speak in due time. 
These few notes will not, I hope, be thought out of place 
in a volume whose object it is to present the reader with 
some kind of portraiture of the people of East London, the 
only study in that city which is curious and interesting. I 
want, once more, these facts to be borne in mind. It is a 
new city, consisting of many old hamlets whose fields and 
gardens have been built upon chiefly during this century. 
It is a city without a center, without a municipality, and with- 
out any civic or collective or local pride, patriotism, or enthu- 
siasm. It is a city without art or literature, but filled with 
the appliances of science and with working-men, some of 
whom have "acquired a very high degree of technical skill. 
It is a city where all alike, with no considerable exceptions, 
live on the weekly wage ; it is a city of whose people a large 
percentage were born elsewhere ; and it is a city which offers, 
I suppose, a greater variety and a larger number of crafts 
and trades than any other industrial center in the world — 
greater even than Paris, which is the home of so many in- 
dustries. And it is not a city of slums, but of respectability. 
Slums there are ; no one can deny them ; there are also slums 
in South London much worse in character, and slums in 
West London, where the "Devil's Acre" occupies a proud 
preeminence in iniquity ; but East London is emphatically not 
a city of slums. 







EAST LONDON, then, is a collection of new towns 
crammed with people; it is also a collection of indus- 
tries ; it is a hive of quiet, patient, humble workers ; all its peo- 
ple live by their own labor ; moreover, it is a busy port with a 
population of sailors, and those who belong to sailors, and 
those who make their livelihood out of sailors, and such as go 
down to the sea in ships. Its riverside is cut up with docks ; 
in and about among the houses and the streets around the 
docks rise forests of masts; there is no seaport in the coun- 
try, not even Portsmouth, which is so charged and laden 
with the atmosphere of ocean and the suggestion of things 
far off as this port of London and its riverside. The port 
and the river were here long before East London was begun. 
The port, however, was formerly higher up, below London 
Bridge. It was one of London's sturdy mayors who bluntly 
reminded a king, when he threatened to take away the trade 
of London, that, at least, he would have to leave them the 
river. For, you see, while the river runs below London 
Bridge, it is not much harm that any king, even a mediaeval 
monarch, can do to London trade. 

And now come with me; let us walk quietly about this 
strange city which has so little to show except its people 
and their work. 

We will begin with the riverside, the port and the Pool 
and the "hamlets" which lie beside the river, 

3 41 


There is one place in London where, at any time of day 
and all the year round, except in days of rain and snow, you 
may find a long line of people, men and women, boys and 
girls — ^people well dressed and people in rags, people who 
are halting here on their errands or their business, and ,peo- 
ple who have no work to do. They stand here side by side, 
leaning over the low wall, and they gaze earnestly and in- 
tently upon the river below. They do not converse with 
each other ; there is no exchange of reflections ; they stand in 
silence. The place is London Bridge; they lean against the 
wall and they look down upon the Pool — ^that is to say, 
upon the reach of the river that lies below London Bridge. 
I have never crossed the bridge without finding that long line 
of interested spectators. They are not in a hurry ; they seem 
to have nothing to do but to look on; they are not, appa- 
rently, country visitors; they have the unmistakable stamp 
of London upon them, yet they never tire of the prospect 
before them; they tear themselves away unwillingly; they 
move on slowly; when one goes another takes his place. 
What are they thinking about? Why are they all silent? 
Why do they gaze so intently? What is it that attracts 
them? They do not look as if they* were engaged in men- 
tally restoring the vanished past ; I doubt whether they know 
anything of any past. Perhaps their imagination is vaguely 
stimulated by the mere prospect of the full flood of river and 
by the sight of the ships. As they stand there in silence, 
their thoughts go forth; on wings invisible they are wafted 
beyond the river, beyond the ocean, to far-off lands and 
purple islands. At least I hope so ; otherwise I do not under- 
stand why they stand there so long, and are so deeply 
wrapped in thought. 

To those who are ignorant of the fact that London is one 
of the great ports of the world the sight of the Pool would 
not convey that knowledge. What do we see? Just below 
us on the left is a long, covered quay, with a crane upon 


it. Bales and casks are lying about Two steamers are 
moored beside the quay; above them are arranged barges, 
three or four side by side and about a dozen in all; one is 
alongside the farther steamer, receiving some of her cargo; 
on the opposite shore there are other steamers, with a great 
many more barges, mostly empty; two or three tugs fight 
their way up against the tide; heavily laden barges with 
red sails, steered by long sweeps, drop down with the ebb; 
fishing smacks lie close inshore, convenient for Billingsgate 
market; there is a two-masted vessel, of the kind that used 
to be called a ketch, lying moored in midstream — what is 
she doing there? 

The steamers are not the great liners; they are much 
smaller craft. They run between London and Hamburg, 
London and Antwerp, London and Dieppe. The ships which 
bring the treasures of the world to London port are all in 
the docks where they are out of sight; there is no evidence 
to this group of spectators from the bridge of their pres- 
ence at all, or of the rich argosies they bear within them. 

You should have seen this place a hundred years ago. 
Try to carry your imagination so far back. Before you lie 
the vessels in long lines moored side by side; they form 
regular streets, with broad waterways between; as each ship 
comes up-stream it is assigned its place. There are no 
docks; the ships receive or discharge their cargo by means 
of barges or lighters, of which there are thousands on the 
river ; there are certain quays at which everything is landed, 
in the presence of custom-house officers, landing surveyors, 
and landing masters. All day long and all the year round, 
except on Sunday, the barges are going backward and for- 
ward, lying alongside, loading and unloading; all day long 
you will hear the never-ending shouting, ordering, quarrel- 
ing, of the bargees and the sailors ; the Pool is as full of noise 
as it is full of movement. Every trade and every country 
are represented in the Pool ; the rig, the lines, the masts of 



every ship proclaim her nationality and the nature of her 

trade. There are the stately East and West Indiamen, the 

black collier, the brig and the brigantine and the schooner, 

the Dutch galliot, the three-masted Norwegian, the coaster, 

and the multitudinous smaller craft — the sailing barge, the • 

oyster boat, the smack, the pinnace, the snow, the yacht, the 

lugger, the hog boat, the ketch, the hoy, the lighter, and 

the wherries, and always ships dropping down the river with ; 

the ebb, or making their slow way up the river with the 


Steam is a leveller by sea as well as on land ; on the latter 
it has destroyed the picturesque stage-coach and the post- 
chaise and the Berlin and the family coach ; by sea it banishes 
the old sailing craft of all kinds ; one after the other they dis- 
appear; how many landsmen are there who at the present 
day know how to distinguish between brig and brigantine, 
between ketch and snow? 

I said that there is no history to speak of in East Lon- 
don. The Pool and the port must be excepted ; they are full 
of history, could we stop for some of it — the history of ship- 
building, the expansion of trade, the pirates of the German 
Ocean; when one begins to look back the things of the 
past arise in the mind one after the other and are acted 
again before one's eyes. For instance, you have seen the 
Pool in 1800. Look again in 1400. The Pool is again 
filled with ships, but they are of strange build and mysterious 
rig ; they are short and broad and solidly built ; they are not 
built for speed ; they are high in the poop, low in the waist, 
and broad in the bow; they roll before the wind, with their 
single mast and single sail ; they are coasters laden with pro- 
visions; they are heavily built craft from Bordeaux, deep 
down in the water with casks of wine; they are weather- 
beaten ships bringing turpentine, tallow, firs, skins, from the 
Baltic. And see, even while we look, there come sweeping 
up the river the long and stately Venetian galleys, rowed by 


Turkish slaves, with gilded masts and painted bows. They 
come every year — ^a whole fleet of them; they put in first at 
Southampton; they go on to Antwerp; they cross the Ger- 
man Ocean again to London. Mark the pious custom of the 
time. It is not only the Venetian custom, but that of every 
country; when the ship has reached her moorings, when the 
anchor is dropped and the galley swings into place, the 
whole ship's company gather together before the mainmast 
— slaves and all — ^and so, bareheaded, sing the Kyrielle, the 
hymn of praise to the Virgin, who has brought them safe 
to port. 

Of history, indeed, there is no end. Below us is the cus- 
tom house. It has always stood near the same spot. We 
shall see Geoffrey Chaucer, if we are lucky, walking about 
engaged in the duty of his office. And here we may see, 
perhaps, Dick Whittington, the 'prentice lad newly arrived 
from the country; he looks wistfully at the ships; they rep- 
resent the world that he must conquer — so much he under- 
stands already ; they are to become, somehow, his own ships ; 
they are to bring home his treasures — cloth of gold and of 
silver, velvet, silk, spices, perfumes, choice weapons, fra- 
grant woods; they are to make him the richest merchant in 
all the City; they are to enable him to entertain in his own 
house the King and the Queen, and to tear up the King's 
bonds, amounting to a princely fortune. You may see, two 
hundred years later on, one Shakspere loitering about the 
quays ; he is a young fellow, with a rustic ruddiness of coun- 
tenance, like David; he is quiet and walks about by himself; 
he looks on and listens, but says nothing. He learns every- 
thing, the talk of sailors, soldiers, working-men — all, and he 
forgets nothing. Later on, again, you may see Daniel Defoe, 
notebook in hand, questioning the sailors from every port, 
but especially from the plantations of Virginia. He, too, 
observes everything, notes everything, and reproduces every- 
thing. As to the Pool and the port and their history one 


could go on forever. But the tale of LxDndon Town contains 
it all, and that must be told in another place. 

Come back to the Pool of the eighteenth century, because 
it is there that we get the first glimpse of the people who lived 
by the shipping and the port. They were, first, the sailors ' 

themselves; next, the lightermen, stevedores, and porters; 
then the boat builders, barge builders, rope-makers, block- 
makers, ships' carpenters, mast- and yard-makers, ship- 
wrights, keepers of taverns and ale-houses, dealers in ships' 
stores, and many others. Now, in the eighteenth century, 
the shipping of Lx)ndon port increased by leaps and bounds ; 
in 1709 there were only five hundred and sixty ships belong- 
ing to this port; in 1740 the number was multiplied by three; 
this number does not include those ships which came from 
other British ports or from foreign ports. With this in- 
crease there was, naturally, a corresponding increase of the 
riverside population. Their homes were beyond and out- 
side the jurisdiction of the City; they outgrew the inefficient 
county machinery for the enforcement of order and the pre- 
vention and punishment of crime. As years went on the « 
riverside became more densely populated, and the people, 
left to themselves, grew year by year more lawless, more 
ignorant, more drunken, more savage; there never was a 
time, there was no other place, unless it might have been some 
short-lived pirate settlement on a West Indian islet, where 
there was so much savagery as on the riverside of London — 
those "hamlets" marked on my map — ^toward the close of the 
eighteenth century. When one thinks of it, when one real- 
izes the real nature of the situation and its perils, one is 
amazed that we got through without a rising and a massacre. 

The whole of the riverside population, including not only 
the bargemen and porters, but the people ashore, the dealers 
in drink, the shopkeepers, the dealers in marine stores, were ] 

joined and banded together in an organized system of plun- 
der and robbery. They robbed the ships of their cargoes 


as they unloaded them; they robbed them of their cargoes 
as they brought them in the barge from the wharf to the 
ship. They were all concerned in it — ^man, woman, and 
child; they all looked upon the shipping as a legitimate 
object of plunder ; there was no longer any question of con- 
science ; there was no conscience left at all ; how could there 
be any conscience where there was no education, no reli- 
gion, not even any superstition? Of course the greatest rob- 
bers were the lightermen themselves ; but the boys were sent 
out in light boats which pulled under the stem of the ves- 
sels, out of sight, and received small parcels of value tossed 
to them from the men in the ships. These men wore leathern 
aprons which were contrived as water-tight bags, which 
they could fill with rum or brandy, and they had huge pockets 
concealed behind the aprons which they crammed with stuff. 
On shore every other house was a drinking-shop and a 
"fence" or receiving-shop; the evenings were spent in selling 
the day's robberies and drinking the proceeds. Silk, velvets, 
spices, nun, brandy, tobacco— everything that was brought 
from over the sea became the spoil of this vermin. They 
divided the work, they took different branches under different 
names, they shielded each other; if the custom-house people 
or the wharfingers tried to arrest one, he was protected by 
his companions. It was estimated in 1798 that goods to the 
value of £250,000 were stolen every year from the ships in 
the Pool by the men who worked at discharging cargo. The 
people gfrew no richer, because they sold their plunder for a 
song and drank up the money every day. But they had, at 
least, as much as they could drink. 

Imagine, then, the consternation and disgust of this honest 
folk when they found that the ships were in future going to 
receive cargo and to discharge, not in the open river, but in 
dock, the new wet docks, capable of receiving all; that the 
only entrance and exit for the workmen was by a g^te, at 
which stood half a dozen stalwart warders; that the good 


old leathern apron was suspected and handled; that pockets 
were also regarded with suspicion and were searched; and 
that dockers who showed bulginess in any portion of their 
figures were ignominiously set aside and strictly examined. 
No more confidence between man and man ; no more respect 
for the dignity of the working-man. The joy, the pride, the 
prizes of the profession, all went out as if at one stroke. 
I am sorry that we have no record of the popular feeling 
on the riverside when it became at last understood that there 
was no longer any hope, that honesty had actually become 
compulsory. What is the worth of virtue if it is no longer 
voluntary? For the first time these poor injured people felt 
the true curse of labor. Did they hold public meetings? 
Did they demonstrate? Did they make processions with 
flags and drums? Did they call upon their fellow- workmen 
to turn out in their millions and protest against enforced 
honesty? If they did, we hear nothing of it. The river- 
side was unfortunately considered at that time beneath the 
notice of the press. After a few unfortunates had been 
taken at the dock gates with their aprons full of rum up 
to the chin; after these captives had been hauled before 
the magistrate, tried at the Old Bailey, without the least 
sympathy for old established custom, and then imprisoned 
and flogged with the utmost barbarity, I think that a general 
depression of spirits, a hitherto unknown dejection, fell upon 
the quarter and remained, a cloud that nothing could dispel ; 
that the traders all became bankrupt, and that the demand for 
drink went down until it really seemed as if from Wapping 
to Blackwall the riverside was becoming sober. 

Billingsgate, the great fish-market, is down below us, just 
beyond the first wharves and the steamers. This is one of 
the old harbors of London ; it was formerly square in shape, 
an artificial port simply and easily carved out of the Thames 
foreshore of mud and kept from falling in by timber piles 
driven in on three sides. It was very easy to construct such 


a port in this soft foreshore; there were two others very 
much like this higher up the river. Of these one remains to 
this day, a square harbor just as it was made fifteen hundred 
— or was it two thousand ? — years ago. 

The first London Bridge, the Roman bridge built of wood, 
had its north end close beside this port of Billingsgate, My 
own theory — I will not stop to explain it, because you are 

not greatly interested, friendly reader, in Roman London — is 
that the square harbor was constructed with piles of timber on 
three sides and wooden quays on the piles, in order to provide 
a new port for Roman London when those higher up the 
river were rendered useless for sea-going craft by the build- 
ing of the bridge. If you agree to accept this theory without 
question and pending the time when you may possibly take up 
the whole subject for yourself, you may stand with me at the 
head of the present stairs and see for yourself what it was 
like in Roman times, with half a dozen merchantmen lying 
moored to the wooden quays ; upon them bales of wool, bun- 


dies of skins, bars of iron, waiting to be taken on board ; rolls 
of cloth and of silk imported, boxes containing weapons, 
casks of wine taken out of the ships and waiting to be car- 
ried up into the citadel; in one corner, huddled together, a 
little crowd of disconsolate women and children going off into 
slavery somewhere — ^the Roman Empire was a big place; 
beside them the men, their brothers and husbands, going off 
to show the Roman ladies the meaning of a battle, and to 
kill each other, with all the grim earnestness of reality, in a 
sham fight for the pleasure of these gentle creatures. One 
does not pity gladiators ; to die fighting was the happiest lot ; 
not one of them, I am sure, ever numbered his years and 
lamented that he was deprived of fifty, sixty, seventy, years 
of life and sunshine and feasting. Perhaps — in the other 
world, who knows? — in the world where live the ghosts 
whose breath is felt at night, whose forms are seen flitting 
about the woods, there might be — ^who knows ? — more battle, 
more feasting, more love-making. 

They have now filled up most of the old port of Billings- 
gate, and made a convenient quay in its place. They have 
also put up a new market in place of the old sheds. With 
these improvements it is said to be now the finest fish-mar- 
ket in the world. Without going round the whole world to 
prove the superiority of Billingsgate, one would submit that 
it is really a very fine market indeed. Formerly it was 
graced by the presence of the fishwomen — those ladies cele- 
brated in verse and in prose, who contributed a new noun 
to the language. The word "Billingsgate" conveys the im- 
pression of ready speech and mother-wit, speech and wit un- 
restrained, of rolling torrent of invective, of a rare inven- 
tion in abuse, and a give-and-take of charge and repartee 
as quick and as dexterous as the play of single stick between 
two masters of defense. The fishwomen of the market en- 
joyed the reputation of being more skilled in this language 
than any other class in London. The carmen, the brewers' 
draymen, the watermen, the fellowship porters were all 


skilled practitioners, — ^in fact, they all practised daily, — ^but 
none, it was acknowledged, in fullness and richness of 
detail, in decoration, in invention, could rise to the heights 
reached by the fishwomen of the market. They were as 
strong, also, physically, as men, even of their own class; 
they could wrestle and throw most men ; if a visitor offended 
one of them she ducked him in the river; they all smoked 
pipes like men, and they drank rum and beer like men; they 
were a picturesque part of the market, presiding over their 
stalls. Alas! the market knows them no more. The fish- 
woman has been banished from the place ; she lingers still in 
the dried-fish market opposite, but she is changed; she has 
lost her old superiority of language; she no longer drinks 
or smokes or exchanges repartee. She is sad and silent ; we 
all have our little day; she has enjoyed her's, and it is all 
over and past. 

If you would see the market at its best you must visit it 
at five in the morning, when the day's work begins — ^the 
place is then already crowded ; you will find bustle and noise 
enough over the sale of such an enormous mass of fish as 
will help you to understand something of hungry London. 
Hither come all the fishmongers to buy up their daily sup- 
plies. If you try to connect this vast mass of fish with the 
mouths for which it is destined you will feel the same kind 
of bewilderment that falls upon the brain when it tries to 
realize the meaning of millions. 

Next to Billingsgate stands the custom house, with its 
noble terrace overlooking the river and its stately buildings. 
This is the fifth or sixth custom house; the first of which 
we have any record, that in which Chaucer was an officer, 
stood a little nearer the Tower. After keeping the King's 
accounts and receiving the King's customs all day, it was 
pleasant for him to sit in the chamber over the Gate of Aid, 
where he lived, and to meditate his verses, looking down 
upon the crowds below. 

Next to the custom house you see the Tower and Tower 


Hill. I once knew an American who told me that he had 
been in London three years and had never once gone to see 
even the outside of the Tower of London. There are, you 
see, two varieties of man — perhaps they are the principal 
divisions of the species. To the first belongs the man who 
understands and realizes that he is actually and veritably 
compounded of all the generations which have gone before. 
He is consciously the child of the ages. In his frame and 
figure he feels himself the descendant of the naked savage 
who killed his prey with a club torn from a tree ; in his man- 
ners, customs, laws, institutions, and religion, he enjoys, 
consciously, the achievements of his ancestors ; he never for- 
gets the past from which he has sprung; he never tires of 
tracing the gradual changes which made the present possible ; 
like the genealogist, he never tires of establishing a connec- 
tion. I am myself one of this school. I do not know any 
of my ancestors by sight, nor do I know whether to look 
for them among the knights or among the men at arms, but 
I know that they were fighting at Agincourt and at Hastings, 
beside Henry and beside Harold. If I consider the man of 
old, the average man, I look in the glass. When I sit upon 
a jury I am reminded of that old form of trial in which a 
prisoner's neighbors became his compurgators and solemnly 
swore that a man with such an excellent character could not 
possibly have done such a thing. When I hear of a ward 
election I remember the Ward Mote of my ancestors. I think 
that I belong more to the past than to the present; I would 
not, if I could, escape from the past. 

But, then, there is that other school, whose disciples care 
nothing about the past. They live in the present ; they work 
for the present, regardless of either past or future ; their faces 
are turned ever forward ; they will not look back. They use 
the things of the past because they are ready to hand; they 
would improve them if they could ; they would abolish them 
if they got in the way of advance. They are the practical 


metiy the administrators, the inventors, the engineers. For 
such men the laws of their country, their liberties, the civic 
peace and order which allow them to work undisturbed, all 
are ready made; they found them here — ^they do not ask 
how they came. If they come across any old thing and 
think that it is in their way, they sweep it off the earth 
without the least remorse; they love a new building, a new 
fashion, a new invention ; they are the men who only see the 
Tower of London by accident as they go up and down the 
river, and they think what a noble site for warehouses is 
wasted by that great stone place. This is a very large 
school; it embraces more than the half of civilized humanity. 

Let me speak in this place of the Tower to the former 
school — the lesser half. 

Three hundred years ago Stow wrote of the Tower of 
London in these words: "Now to conclude in summary. 
The Tower is a citadel to defend or command the city, a 
royal palace for assemblies or treaties, a prison of state for 
the most dangerous offenders, the only place of coinage for 
all England, the armory for warlike provision, the treasury 
of the ornaments and jewels of the Crown, the general con- 
serves of the most ancient records of the king's courts of 
justice at Westminster." 

The history of the Tower would cover many sheets of long 
and gloomy pages. There is no sadder history anywhere. 
Fortunately, we need not tell it here. When you think of it, 
remember that it is still, as it always has been, a fortress ; it 
has been in addition a palace, a court, a mint, a prison; but 
it has always been a fortress, and it is a fortress still ; at night 
the gates are shut; no one after dark is admitted without 
the password ; to the lord mayor alone, as a compliment and 
a voluntary act of friendliness on the part of the Crown, the 
password is intrusted day by day. The Tower was sur- 
rounded by a small tract of ground called the Tower Liberties. 
Formerly the City had no jurisdiction over this district Even 


now the boundaries of the Liberties are marked out again 
every three years by a procession including the mayor of the 
Tower, the chief officials, including the gaoler with his axe of 
office, and the school children carrying white wands. They 
march from post to post; at every place where the broad 
arrow marks the boundary the children beat it with their 
wands. In former times they caught the nearest bystander 
and beat him on the spot, in this way impressing upon his 
memory, in a way not likely to be forgotten, the boundaries 
of the Tower Liberties. In such fashion, "by reason of 
thwacks," was the barber in the "Shaving of Shagpat" made 
to remember the injunctions which led him to great honor. 
In every London parish to this day they "beat the bounds" 
once a year with such a procession. I know not if the cus- 
tom is still preserved outside London. But I remember 
such a beating of the bounds, long years ago, beside Clap- 
ham Common, when the boys of the procession caught other 
boys, and, after bumping them against the post, slashed at 
them with their wands. We were the other boys, and there 
was a fight, which, while it lasted, was brisk and enjoyable. 
There are two places belonging to the Tower which should 
be specially interesting to the visitor. These are the chapel, 
called "St. Peter ad Vincula," and the terrace along the 
river. The history, my American friend, which this chapel 
illustrates is your property and your inheritance, as much as 
our own. Your ancestors, as well as ours, looked on while 
the people buried in the chapel were done to death. Look 
at those letters "A. B." They mark the grave of the hapless 
Anne Boleyn, a martyr, perhaps : a child of her own bad age, 
perhaps — who knows? Beside her lies her sister in misfor- 
tune, — no martyr, if all is true, yet surely hapless, — Katherine 
Howard. Here lies the sweetest and tenderest of victims, 
Lady Jane Gray; you cannot read her last words without 
breaking down; you cannot think of her fate without tears. 
Here lies Sir Walter Raleigh — is there anywhere in America 


a monument to the memory of this illustrious man? For 
the rest, come here and make your own catalogue; it will 
recall, as Macaulay wrote, "whatever is darkest in human 
nature and in human destiny, with the savage triumph of 
implacable enemies, with all the miseries of fallen greatness 
and of blighted fame." 

The other place, the terrace along the river, is fit for the 
musing of a summer afternoon. In front you have life — the 
life of the day; behind you have life, but it is the life of 
the past. Nowhere in England can you find such a contrast. 
Sit down upon this terrace, among the old, useless cannon, 
among the children at play, and the contrast will presently 
seize you and hold you rapt and charmed. 

It is also the best place for seeing the gray old fabric 
itself, with its ancient walls and towers of stone, its bar- 
bican, its ditch, its gates, its keep, and the modern additions 
in brick and wood that have grown up among the mediaeval 
work — incongruities which still do not disfigure. On the east 
of the Tower a new road has been constructed as an ap- 
proach to the Tower Bridge. From this road another and 
quite a new view can now be obtained of the Tower, which 
from this point reveals the number and the grouping of its 
buildings. I have not seen represented anywhere this new 
side of the Tower. 

I have said nothing all this time of London's new gate. 
Yet you have been looking at it from London Bridge and 
from the terrace. It is the new Water Gate, the noblest and 
most stately gate possessed by any city: the gate called the 
Tower Bridge. It is, briefly, a bascule bridge — that is, a 
bridge which parts in the middle, each arm being lifted up 
to open the way, like many smaller bridges in Holland and 
elsewhere, for a ship to pass through. It was begun in 1884 
and finished in 1894. 

It consists of two lofty towers communicating with either 
shore by a suspension bridge. There is a permanent upper 


bridge across the space between the towers, access being 
gained from the lower level by lifts. The lower bridge, on 
the level of the two suspension bridges, is the bascule, which 
is raised up by weights acting within the two towers, so as 
to leave the space clear. 

The width of the central span is 200 feet clear ; the height 
of the permanent bridge is 140 feet above high-water mark, 
and the lower bridge is 29 feet when closed. The two great 
piers on which the towers are built are 185 feet long and 
70 feet wide ; the side spans are 270 feet in the clear. 

The bascule may be described as a lever turning on a 
pivot; the shorter, and therefore the heavier, end is within 
the Tower. The weight at the end of the lever is a trifle, 
no more than 621 tons. That of the arm, which is 100 
feet long, is 424 tons. If you make a little calculation 
you will find that the action of one side of the pivot very 
nearly balances that of the other, with a slight advantage 
given to the longer side. You are not perhaps interested 
in the construction of the bridge, but you must own that 
there is no more splendid gate to a port and a city to 
which thousands of ships resort than this noble structure. 
The bascule swings up about seventeen times a day, but 
the ships are more and more going into the docks below, 
so that the raising of the arms is becoming every day a 
rarer event. It is a pleasant sight to see the huge arms rising 
up as lightly as if they were two deal planks, which the great 
ship passes through ; then the arms fall back gently and noise- 
lessly, and the traffic goes on again, the whole interruption 
not lasting more than a few minutes — ^less time than a block 
in Cheapside or Broadway. 

Beyond the Tower are the docks named after St. Kath- 
erine. They are so named to commemorate an ancient 
monument and a modern act of vandalism more disgraceful 
perhaps than any of those many acts by which things ancient 
and precious have been destroyed. 

The Waier-Gate of London : Tower Bridge from the E;isi Siilc of the Towi 


On the site of those docks there stood for seven hundred 
years one of the most picturesque and venerable of City foun- 
dations. Here was the House called that of St. Katherine 
by the Tower. Its first foundress was Matilda, queen of 
Stephen. She created the place and endowed it, in the spirit 
of the time, in grief for the loss of two children who died 
and were buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity Priory, 
Aldgate. Later on, Eleanor, Queen of Edward I, added cer- 
tain manors to the little foundation, which had hitherto been 
but a cell to the Holy Trinity Priory. She appointed and 
endowed a master, three brethren, three sisters, the bedes- 
woman, and six poor clerks. Fifty years later, a third Qiieen, 
Philippa, wife of Edward III, increased, the endowments. 
We should hardly expect this ancient foundation to survive 
to the present day, but it has done so. The house was spared 
at the Dissolution; it was considered peculiarly under the 
protection of the Queen consort, since three queens in succes- 
sion had endowed it. Therefore, while all the other religious 
houses in the country were swept away this was spared; it 
received a Protestant form; it was called a college, a free 
chapel, a hospital for poor sisters. The warden, who re- 
ceived the greater part of the endowment, became a dignified 
person appointed by the Queen, the brethren and sisters re- 
mained, the bedeswoman remained, the endowment for the 
six poor clerks was given to make a school. The precinct 
became a Liberty, with its own officers, court, and prison; 
the buildings were retired and quiet, in appearance like a 
peaceful college at Cambridge ; the warden's house was com- 
modious ; the cloisters were a place for calm and meditation ; 
there was a most beautiful church filled with monuments; 
there was a lovely garden, and there was a peaceful church- 
yard. Outside, the precinct was anything but a place of 
peace or quiet. It was a tangle of narrow lanes and mean 
streets ; it was inhabited by sailors and sailor folk. Among 
them were the descendants of those Frenchmen who had 


fled across the Channel when Calais fell ; one of the streets, 
called Hangman's Gains, commemorated the fact in its dis- 
guise, being originally the Street of Hammes and Guisnes, 
two places within the English pale round Calais. 

This strange place, mediaeval in its appearance and its cus- 
toms, continued untouched until some eighty years ago. 
Then — it is too terrible to think of — ^they actually swept 
the whole place away; the venerable church was destroyed; 
the picturesque cloister, with the old houses of sisters and 
of brethren, the school, the ancient court house, the church- 
yard, the gardens, the streets and cottages of the precinct, 
were all destroyed, and in their place was constructed a dock. 
No dock was wanted; there was plenty of room elsewhere; 
it was a needless, wanton act of barbarity. They built a new 
church, a poor thing to look at, beside Regent's Park; they 
built six houses for the brethren and sisters, a large house 
for the warden; they founded a school, they called the new 
place St. Katherine's. But it is not St. Katherine's by the 
Tower, and East London has lost the one single foundation 
it possessed of antiquity ; it has also lost the income, varying 
from £10,000 to £14,000 a year, which belonged to this, its 
only religious foundation. 

In the modern chapel at Regent's Park you may see the 
old monuments, the carved tombs, the stalls, the pulpit, taken 
from the ancient church; it is the putting of old wine into 
new bottles. Whenever I stand within those walls there 
falls upon me the memory of the last service held in the old 
church, when, amid the tears and lamentations of the people 
who loved the venerable place, the last hymn was sung, the 
last prayer offered,, before the place was taken down. 

Outside the docks begins the place they call Wapping. 
It used to be Wapping in the Ouze, or Wapping on the Wall. 
I have spoken of the embankment on the marsh. All along 
the river, all round the low coast of Essex stands "The 
Wall," the earthwork by which the river is kept from over- 


flowing these low grounds at high water. This wall, which 
was constantly getting broken down, and cost great sums of 
money to restore, was the cause of the first settlement of 
Wapping. It was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth that 
people were encouraged to settle here, in order that by build- 
ing houses on and close to the wall this work would be 
strengthened and maintained. 

Stow says that about the year 1560 there were no houses 
here at all, but that forty years later the place was occupied 
and thickly settled by "seafaring men and tradesmen dealing 
in commodities for the supply of shipping and shipmen." If 
thi3 had been all, there would have been no harm done, but 
the place was outside the jurisdiction of the city, and g^ave 
complaints were made that in all such suburbs a large trade 
was carried on in the making and selling of counterfeit 
goods. The arm of the law was apparently unable to act 
with the same vigor outside the boundaries of the lord 
mayor's authority. Therefore the honest craftsman was en- 
couraged by impunity to make counterfeit indigo, musk, 
saffron, cochineal, wax, nutmegs, steel and other things. 
"But," says Str)rpe, "they were bunglers in their business." 
They took too many apprentices; they kept them for too 
short a time, and their wares were bad, even considered 
merely as counterfeits. The making of wooden nutmegs has 
been, it will be seen, unjustly attributed to New England; 
it was in vogue in East London so far back as the sixteenth 
century. The craftsmen of the City petitioned James I. on 
the subject; a royal commission was appointed who recom- 
mended that the City companies should receive an extension 
of their power and should have control of the various trades 
within a circle of five or six miles' radius. Nothing, however, 
seems to have come of the recommendation. 

Before this petition, and even in the lifetime of Queen 
Elizabeth, there was alarm about the growth of the suburbs ; 
it was argued that there were too many people already ; they 


were too crowded; there were not enough provisions for so 
many ; if the plague came back there would be a terrible mor- 
tality, and so on. Therefore orders were issued that no new 
buildings should be erected within three miles of the City, 
and that not more than one family should live in one house. 
Nothing could be wiser than these ordinances. But nature is 
not always so wise as human legislators. It is therefore cred- 
ible that children went on being bom ; that there continued to 
be marrying and giving in marriage ; that the population went 
on increasing ; and, since one cannot, even in order to obey a 
wise law, live in the open air, this beneficent law was set at 
defiance; new houses were built in all the suburbs, and if a 
family could not afford a house to itself it just did what it 
had always done — took part of a house. In the face of these 
difficulties East London began to create itself, and riverside 
London not only stretched out a long arm upon the river 
wall, but threw out lanes and streets to the north of the wall. 

Not much of Wapping survives. The London docks cut 
out a huge cantle of the parish ; the place has since been still 
further curtailed by the creation of a large recreation ground 
of the newest type. Some of the remaining streets retain in 
their name the memory of the gardens and fields of the 
early settlements ; there is Wapping Wall, Green Bank, Rose 
Lane, Crabtree Lane, Old Gravel Lane, Hermitage Street, 
Love Lane, — ^no London suburb is complete without a Love 
Lane or a Lovers' Walk, — Cinnamon Street : does this name 
recall the time of the wooden nutmegs? 

Let me, at this point, introduce you to Raine's Charity. 
Did you know that in our East London, as well as in the 
French village, we have our Rosiere? The excellent Raine, 
who flourished during the last century, built and endowed a 
school for girls who were trained for domestic service; he 
also left money for giving, once a year, a purse containing 
a hundred golden sovereigils, upon her wedding day, to a 
girl coming from his own school who could show four years' 


domestic service with unblemished character. On the oc- 
casion when I assisted at this function there was observed — 
I do not think that the custom has since been abolished — 3l 
quaint little ceremony. The wedding was held in the church 
of St. George' s-in-the-East. This church, a massive struc- 
ture of stone, built a hundred and fifty years ago, stands a 
little off a certain famous street once called Ratcliffe High- 
way. They have changed its name, and shamed it into better 
ways. When the marriage was celebrated the church was 
crowded with all the girls, children, and women of the quar- 
ter. This spontaneous tribute to the domestic virtues, in a 
place of which so many cruel things have been alleged, 
caused a glow in the bosom of the stranger. Indeed, it was 
a curious spectacle, this intense interest in the reward of 
the Rosiere. The women crowded the seats and filled the 
galleries ; they thronged the great stone porch ; they made a 
lane outside for the passage of the bridal party; they whis- 
pered eagerly, without the least sign of scoffing. When the 
bride, in her white dress, walked through them they gasped, 
they trembled, the tears came into their eyes. What did they 
mean — those tears? 

After the service the clerg)mian, with the vestrymen, the 
bridal party, and the invited guests, marched in procession 
from the church through the broad churchyard at the back to 
the vestry hall. With the procession walked the church choir 
in their surplices. Arrived at the vestry hall, the choir sang 
an anthem composed in the last century especially for this 
occasion. The rector of St. George's then delivered a short 
oration, congratulating the bride and exhorting the bride- 
groom; he then placed in the hands of the bridegroom an 
old-fashioned, long silk purse containing fifty sovereigns at 
each end. This done, cake and wine were passed round, and 
we drank to the health of the bride and her bridegroom. 
The bride, I remember, was a blushing, rosy maiden of two 
and twenty or so; it was a great day for her, — ^the one 


day of all her life, — ^but she carried herself with a becoming 
modesty; the bridegroom, a goodly youth, about the same 
age, was proposing, we understood, something creditable, 
something superior, in the profession of carter or carman. 
It is more than ten years ago. I hope that the gift of the 
incomparable Raine — the anthem said that he was incom- 
parable — ^has brought good luck to this London Rosiere and 
her bridegroom. 

The church of St. George's-in-the-East stands, as I have 
said, beside the once infamous street called the Ratcliffe 
Highway. It was formerly the home of Mercantile Jack 
when his ship was paid off. Here, where every other house 
was a drinking den, where there was not the slightest attempt 
to preserve even a show of deference to respectability. Jack 
and his friends drank and sang and danced and fought. 
Portugal Jack and Italy Jack and Lascar Jack have always 
been very handy with their knives, while no one interfered, 
and the police could only walk about in little companies of 
three and four. Within these houses, these windows, these 
doors, their fronts stained and discolored like a drunkard's 
face, there lay men stark and dead after one of these affrays 
— the river would be their churchyard; there lay men sick 
unto death, with no one to look after them; and all the 
time, day and night, the noise of the revelry went on — for 
what matter a few more sick or dead? The fiddler kept it 
up. Jack footed it, one Jack after the other, heel and toe with 
folded arms, to the sailors' hornpipe; there were girls who 
could dance him down, there was delectable singing, and the 
individual thirst was like unto the thirst of Gargantua. 

The street, I say, is changed ; it has now assumed a counte- 
nance of respectability, though it has not yet arrived at the 
full rigors, so to speak, of virtue. Still the fiddle may be 
heard from the frequent public house; still Mercantile Jack 
keeps it up, heel and toe, while his money lasts ; still there are 
harmonic evenings and festive days, but there are changes; 


one may frequently, such is the degeneracy, walk down the 
street, now called St. George's, without seeing a single fight, 
without being hustled or assaulted, without coming across a 
man too drunk to lift himself from the kerb. It is a lively, 
cheerful street, with points which an artist might find pictur- 
esque; it is gfrowing in respectability, but it is not yet by 
any means so clean as it might be, and there are fragrances 
and perfumes lingering about its open doors and courts 
which other parts of London will not admit within their 

There are two squares lying north of this street; in one 
of them is the Swedish church, where, on a Sunday morning, 
you may see rows of light-haired, blue-eyed mariners lis- 
tening to the sermon in their own tongue. In a comer, if 
you look about, you may come upon the quaintest little 
Jewish settlement you can possibly imagine; it is an alms- 
house, with a synagogue and all complete; if you are lucky 
you will find one of the old bedesmen to show you the place. 
St. George's Street, also, rejoices in a large public garden; 
no street ever wanted one so badly; it is made out of the 
great churchyard, where dead sailors and dead bargemen and 
dead roysterers lie by the hundred thousand. And one must 
never forget Jamrack's. This world-wide merchant imports 
wild beasts; in his place — call it not shop or warehouse — 
you will find pumas and wildcats of all kinds, jackals, foxes, 
wolves, and wolverines. It is a veritable Ark of Noah. 

In the very heart of Wapping stands a group of early 
eighteenth century buildings, with which every right-minded 
visitor straightway falls in love; they consist of schools and 
a church ; to these may be added the churchyard — I suppose 
we may say that a churchyard is built, when it is full of 
tombs. This sacred area is separated from the church by 
the road; it is surrounded by an iron railing, and within 
there is a little coppice of lilac, laburnum, and other shrubs 
and trees which have grown up between the tombs, so that in 


the spring and summer the monuments become half-revealed 
and half-concealed; the sunshine, falling on them, quivering 
and shifting through the light leaves and blossoms, glorifies 
the memorials of these dead mariners. The schools are 
adorned with wooden effigies of boy and girl — stiff and for- 
mal in their ancient garb ; the church is not without a quiet 
dignity of its own, such a dignity as I have observed in the 
simple meeting-house of an American town. In some unex- 
plained manner it seems exactly the sort of church which 
should have been built for captains, mates, quartermasters, 
and bo's'uns of the mercantile marine in the days when cap- 
tains wore full wigs and waistcoats down to their knees. 
The master boat-builder and master craftsman, in all the arts 
and mysteries pertaining to ships and boats, their provision 
and their gear, were also admitted within these holy walls. 
The church seems to have been built only for persons of 
authority ; nothing under the rank of quartermaster would sit 
within these dignified walls. You can see the tombs of former 
congregations; they are solid piles of stone, signifying rank 
in the mercantile marine. The tombs are in the churchyard 
around the church, and in the churchvard on the other side 
of the road. As you look upon the old-fashioned church, 
this Georgian church, time runs back; the ancient days re- 
turn : there stands in the pulpit the clergyman, in his full wig, 
reading his learned and doctrinal discourse in a full, rich 
monotone ; below him sit the captains and the mates and the 
quartermasters, with them the master craftsman, all with 
wigs; the three-cornered hat is hanging on the door of the 
high pew; for better concentration of thought, the eyes of 
the honest gentlemen are closed. The ladies, however, sit 
upright, conscious of the Sunday best ; besides, one might, in 
falling asleep, derange the nice balance of the "head." When 
the sermon is over they all walk home in neighborly conver- 
sation to the Sunday dinner and the after-dinner bottle of 
port. The tombs in the churchyard belong to the time when 


a part of Wapping was occupied by this better class, which 
has long since vanished, though one or two of the houses 
remain. Of the baser sort who crowded all the lanes I have 
spoken already. They did not go to church; always on Sun- 
day the doors stood wide open to them if they would come 
in, but they did not accept the invitation ; they stayed outside ; 
the church received them three times — for the christening, for 
the wedding, for the burial ; whatever their lives have been, 
the church receives all alike for the funeral service, and asks 
no questions. After this brief term of yielding to all temp- 
tations, after their sprightly course along the primrose path, 
they are promised, if in the coflSn one can hear, a sure and 
certain hope. 

Here are Wapping Old Stairs. Come with me through 
the narrow court and stand upon the stairs leading down to 
the river. They are now rickety old steps and deserted. 
Time was when the sailors landed here when they returned 
from a voyage; then their sweethearts ran down the steps 
to meet them. 

" Your Polly has never been faithless, she swears, 
Since last year we parted on Wapping Old Stairs." 

And here, when Polly had spent all his money for him. 
Jack hugged her to his manly bosom before going aboard 
again. Greeting and farewell took place in the presence of a 
theater full of spectators. They were the watermen who lay 
off the stairs by dozens waiting for a fare, at the time when 
the Thames was the main highway of the City. The stairs 
were noisy and full of life. Polly herself had plenty of 
repartee in reply to the gentle badinage of the young water- 
men ; her Tom had rivals among them. When he came home 
the welcome began with a fight with one or other of these 
rivals. The stairs are silent now ; a boat or two, mostly with- 
out any one in it, lies despondently alongside the stairs or 
in the mud at low tide. 


Sometimes the boats pushed off with intent to fish; the 
river was full of fish, though there are now none left; there 
were all kinds of fish that swim, including salmon; the fish- 
ery of the Thames is responsible for more rules and ordi- 
nances than any other industry of London. The boatmen 
were learned in the times and seasons of the fish. For in- 
stance, they could tell by the look of the river when a shoal 
of roach was coming up stream; at such times they took up 
passengers who would go a-fishing, and landed them on the 
sterlings — the projecting piers of London Bridge — ^w^here 
they stood angling for the fish all day long with rod and line. 

Next to the Wapping Old Stairs is Execution Dock. This 
was the place where sailors were hanged and all criminals 
sentenced for offenses committed on the water; they were 
hanged at low tide on the foreshore, and they were kept hang- 
ing until three high tides had flowed over their bodies — an 
example and an admonition to the sailors on board the pass- 
ing ships. Among the -many hangings at this doleful spot 
is remembered one which was more remarkable than the 
others. It was conducted with the usual formalities; the 
prisoner was conveyed to the spot in a cart beside his own 
coffin, while the ordinary sat beside him and exhorted him. 
He wore the customary white nightcap and carried a prayer- 
book in one hand, while a nosegay was stuck in his bosom; 
he preserved a stolid indifference to the exhortations ; he did 
not change color when the cart arrived, but it was remem- 
bered afterward that he glanced round him quickly; they 
carried him to the fatal beam and they hanged him up. 
Now, if you come to think of it, as the spot had to be ap- 
proached by a narrow lane and by a narrow flight of steps, 
while the gallows stood in the mud of the foreshore, the 
number of guards could not have been many. On this occa- 
sion, no sooner was the man turned off than a boat's com- 
pany of sailors, armed with bludgeons, appeared most unex- 
pectedly, rushed upon the constables, knocked down the 


hangman, hustled the chaplain, overthrew the sheriff's offi- 
cers, cut down the man, carried him off, threw him into a 
boat, and were away and in midstream, going down swiftly 
with the current before the officers understood what was 
going on. 

When they picked themselves up they gazed stupidly at 
the gallows with the rope still dangling — ^where was the 
man? He was in the boat and it was already a good 
way down the river, and by that kind of accident which 
often happened at that time when the arrangements of the 
executive were upset, there was not a single wherry within 
sight or within hail. 

Then the ordinary closed his book and pulled his cas- 
sock straight ; the hangman sadly removed the rope, the con- 
stables looked after the vanishing boat, and there was nothing 
to be done but just to return home again. As for the man, 
that hanging was never completed and those rescuers were 
never discovered. 

As an illustration of the solitude of this place, before its 
settlement under Queen Elizabeth, one observes that there 
was a field called Hangman's Acre, situated more than a 
quarter of a mile from the river, where in the year 1440 cer- 
tain murderers and pirates were hanged in chains upon a 
gallows set on rising ground, so that they should be seen by 
the sailors in the ships going up and down the river. There 
was not therefore at that time a single house to obstruct this 
admonitory spectacle. 

The "hamlet" of Shadwell is only a continuation of St. 
George's or Ratcliffe Highway; its churchyard is converted 
into. a lovely garden, one of the many gardens which were 
once burial grounds; the people sit about in the shade or in 
the sun; along the south wall is a terrace ccnnmanding a 
cheerful view of the London docks, with their shipping. 
There is a fish-market here, the only public institution of 
Shadwell; there are old houses, which we may look at and 


perhaps represent, but there is httle about its people that dis- 
tinguishes them from the folk on either hand. 

In the year 1671 the church was built; Shadwell was al- 
ready a place with a large population, and the church was 


built in order to minister to their spiritual wants. What 
could be better ? But you shall learn from one example how 
the best intentions were frustrated and how the riverside folk 
were suffered to go from bad to worse, despite the creation 
of the parish and the erection of the church. The first rector 
was a nephew of that great divine and philosopher, Bishop 
Butler. He was so much delighted with the prospect of 
living and working among this rude and ignorant folk, he 
was so filled and penetrated with the spirit of humanity and 
the principles of his religion, that his first sermon was on 
the text, "Woe is me that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell 
in the tents of Kedar!" This good man, however, received 
permission from the bishop to live in Norfolk Street, Strand, 
about three miles from his church. And so, with a non- 
resident clergy, with no schools, with no restraints of exam- 
ple or precept, with little interference from the law, what 
wonder if the people reeled blindly down the slopes that lead 
to death and destruction? 

The name of Ratcliffe or Redcliff marks a spot where the 
low cliff which formerly rose up from the marsh curved 
southward for a space and then receded. It is a "hamlet" 
which at first offers little to interest or to instruct It con- 
sists of mean and dingy streets — ^there is not a single street 
which is not mean and dirty; none of the houses are old; 
none are picturesque in the least; they are rickety, dirty, 
shabby, without one redeeming feature; there is a church, 
but it is not stately like St. George's-in-the-East, nor vener- 
able like that of Stepney; it is unlovely; there are "stairs" 
to the river and they are rickety ; there are warehouses which 
contain nothing and are tumbling down; there are public 
houses which do not pretend to be bright and attractive — 
low-browed, dirty dens, which reek of bad beer and bad gin. 
Yet the place, when you linger in it and talk about it to the 
clergy and the ladies who work for it, is full of interest. 
For it is a quarter entirely occupied by the hand-to-mouth 


laborer ; the people live in tenements ; it is thought luxury to 
have two rooms; there are eight thousand of them, three 
quarters being Irish; in the whole parish there is not a 
single person of what we call respectability, except two or 
three clergymen and half a dozen ladies; there are no good 
shops, there are no doctors or lawyers, there is not even a 
newsvender, for nobody in Ratcliffe reads a newspaper. But 
the place swarms with humanity ; the children play by thou- 
sands in the gutters: and on the door-steps the wives and 
mothers sit all day long and in all weathers, carrying on a 
perpetual parliament of grievance. Here once — I know not 
when — ^stood Ratcliffe Cross, and the site of the cross — ^re- 
moved, I know not when — was one of the spots where, in 
1837, Queen Victoria was proclaimed. Why the young 
Queen should have been proclaimed at Ratcliffe Cross I have 
never been able to discover. I have asked the question of 
many persons and many books, but I can find no answer. 
The oldest inhabitant knows nothing about it; none of the 
books can tell me if the accession of the Queen's predecessors 
was also proclaimed by ancient custom at Ratcliffe Cross. 
Unfortunately, it is now extremely difficult to find persons 
who remember the accession of the Queen, not to speak of 
that of William IV. 

Ratcliffe has other historical memories. Here stood the 
hall of the Shipwrights' Company. This was a very ancient 
body ; it existed as the Fraternity of St. Simon and St. Jude 
from time immemorial ; the Shipwrights' Company formerly 
had docks and building yards on the south of the Thames; 
then they moved their hall to this place on the north bank, 
and seem to have given up their building yards. 

Here was a school, founded and maintained by the Coop- 
ers' Company, where Lancelot Andrewes, the learned bishop, 
was educated. 

There is another historical note concerning Ratcliffe. It 
belongs to the year 1553. It was in that year that Admiral 

Ratcliffe-Cross Staire. 


Sir Hugh Willoughby embarked on that voyage of discovery 
from which he was destined never to return. He was sent 
out on a roving commission to "discover regions, dominions, 
islands, and places unknown," and he began by an attempt 
to discover the northeast passage. Remember that geog- 
raphers knew nothing in those days of the extent of Si- 
beria. Willoughby had three ships; their tonnage was, re- 
spectively, 160 tons, 120, and 90. His crews consisted of 
50, 35, and 2,7 men, respectively. With such tiny craft 
they put forth boldly to brave unknown Arctic seas. It 
was from Ratcliffe Stairs that Willoughby went on board 
on May 10, 1553. Half a mile down the river the flo- 
tilla passed Greenwich Palace, where the young King, Ed- 
ward VI, was residing. It was within a few weeks of his 
death; consumption had laid him low. When the ships 
passed the palace they "dressed" with flags and streamers, 
they fired cannons of salute, they blew their trumpets. The 
young King was brought out to see them pass. It was his 
last appearance in public ; on July 6th he was dead. As for 
Willoughby, he parted with one of his ships, and after being 
tossed about off the coast of Lapland he resolved to winter 
at the mouth of the river Argina. Here, in the following 
spring, he was found with his companions, all dead and 
frozen. A strange story of English enterprise to be con- 
nected with these forlorn and ramshackle stairs. 

Here is another story about Ratcliffe. In a street by 
the river, beside the stairs, are two or three big ruinous 
warehouses, mostly deserted. One of these has a double 
front, the left side representing a private house, the right 
a warehouse. What was stored in the warehouse I know 
not; the whole riverside is lined with warehouses and 
stores. The place is now for a third time deserted, and 
stands with broken windows. It has been deserted, so far 
as the original purpose was concerned, for many years. 
Some thirty years ago a young medical man began to live» 


and to practise in Ratcliffe. He became presently aware 
that the death-rate among the children was frightful. There 
was no hospital nearer than the London Hospital in the 
Whitechapel Road, and that was two miles away ; there were 
no nurses to be obtained and there were no appliances; if a 
child was taken ill it had to lie in the one room occupied by 
the whole family, without ventilation, without proper food, 
without skilled care, without medicines. Therefore in most 
cases of illness the child died. 

He found this rickety old warehouse empty; he thought 
that he would do what he could, being quite a poor man, to 
make a hospital for children. He did so; with his slen- 
der funds he got a few beds and quickly filled them. He 
was physician, surgeon, dispenser, druggist, everything; his 
wife was nurse and everything else. Together these two de- 
voted people started their hospital. Well, it grew ; it became 
known; money began to come in; other doctors and nurses 
were taken on; all the rooms, there were many, were filled; 
the children began to recover. Presently the house became 
so prosperous that it was resolved to build a separate Chil- 
dren's Hospital, which was done, and you may see it — a 
noble place. But for the founder this crown of his labors 
came too late. The work killed him before the new hospital 
was completed; one of the wards, the Heckford Ward, is 
named after the man who gave all his strength, all his mind, 
all his knowledge, all his thoughts ; who gave his life and his 
death; who gave himself, wholly and ungrudgingly, to the 
children. His patients recovered, but their physician died. 
He gave his own life to stay the hand of death. 

Then the house stood empty for a time; it was presently 
taken over by the vicar of the parish and made into a play- 
house for the little children in the winter after school hours, 
from four to seven ; I have told you how the children swarm 
in the Ratcliffe streets. After seven the house was con- 
verted into a club for the rough riverside lads, where they 


could box and play single stick and subdue the devil in them, 
and so presently could sit down and play games and listen 
to reading and keep out of mischief. But the house is con- 
demned; it is really too ramshackle; it is empty again, and 
is now to be pulled down. 

There is still another story whose scene is laid at Rat- 
cliffe. There is a house beside the church which is now the 
vicarage. It is a square, solid house, built about the end of 
the seventeenth century. It is remarkable for a dining-room 
whose walls are painted with Italian landscapes. The story 
is that there lived here, early in the eighteenth century, a mer- 
chant who rode into London every day, leaving his only 
daughter behind. He desired to decorate his house with wall- 
paintings, and engaged a young Italian to stay in the house 
and to paint all day. Presently he made the not unusual dis- 
covery that the Italian and his daughter had fallen in love 
with each other. He knew what was due to his position as 
a City merchant, and did what was proper for the occasion — 
that is to say, he ordered the young man to get out of 
the house in half an hour. The artist obeyed, so far as 
to mount the stairs to his own room. Here, however, he 
stopped, and when the angry parent climbed the stairs after 
the expiration of the half hour to know why he was not 
gone, he found the young lover, dead, hanging to the canopy 
of the bed. His ghost was long believed to haunt the house, 
and was only finally laid, after troops of servants had fled 
shrieking, when the wife of the vicar sat up all night by her- 
self in the haunted chamber, and testified that she had neither 
seen nor heard anything, and was quite willing to sleep in 
the room. That disgusted the ghost, who went away of his 
own accord. I wish I could show you one room in the house. 
It was the old powdering-room. When your wig had been 
properly curled and combed you threw a towel or dressing- 
gown over your shoulders and sat in this little room, with 
your back to the door. Now, the door had a sliding panel, 


and the barber on the other side was provided with the instru- 
ment which blew the white powder through the panel upon 
the wig. The operation finished, you arose, slipped off the 
dressing-gown and descended to your coach with all the dig- 
nity of a gold-laced hat, a wig white as the driven snow, 
lace ruffles, a lace tie, and a black velvet coat — if you were a 
merchant — with gold buttons, and white silk stockings. A 
beautiful time it was for those who could afford the dignity 
and the splendor which made it beautiful. For those who 
could not — Humph! Not quite so beautiful a time. 

After Ratcliffe we pass into Limehouse. It was at Lime 
house Hole that Rogue Riderhood lived. 

The place is more marine than Wapping; the public houses 
have a look, an air, a something that suggests the sea; 
the shops are conducted for the wants of the merchantmen; 
the houses are old and picturesquely dirty; the streets are 
narrow ; one may walk about these streets for a whole after- 
noon, and find something to observe in every one, either a 
shop full of queer things or a public house full of strange 
men, or a house that speaks of other days — of crimps, for 
instance, and of press gangs, and of encounters in the streets ; 
there are ancient docks used for the repair of wooden sailing 
ships; there are places where they build barges; a little in- 
land you may see the famous church of Limehouse, with its 
lofty steeple; it was only built in 1730. Before that time 
there was no church at Limehouse; since that time nobody 
has gone to church at Limehouse, speaking of the true na- 
tives, the riverside folk, not of those who dwell respectably in 
the West India Dock Road. It is, however, doubtless a 
great advantage and benefit to a sea-going population to have 
a churchyard to be buried in. 

At Limehouse the river suddenly bends to the south, and 
then again to the north, making a loop within which lies 
a peninsula. This is a very curious place. It occupies 
an area of a mile and a half from north to south, and about 

Limehouse Basin and Church. 


a mile from east to west. The place was formerly a dead 
level, lower than the river at high tide, and therefore a broad 
tidal marsh ; it was, in fact, part of the vast marsh of which 
I have already spoken, now reclaimed, lying along the north 
bank of the river. This marsh was dotted over with little 
eyots or islets, sometimes swept away by the tide, then form- 
ing again, composed of rushes, living and dead, the rank 
glasses of the marsh, and sticks and string and leaves carried 
among the reeds to form a convenient and secure place where 
the wild birds could make their nests. When the river wall 
was built the marsh became a broad field of rich pasture, in 
which sheep were believed to fatten better than in any other 
part of England. Until recently it had no inhabitants ; prob- 
ably the air at night was malarious, and the sheep wanted 
no one to look after them ; the river wall was adorned with 
half a dozen windmills; dead men, hanging in chains, 
preached silent sermons by their dolorous example to the 
sailors of the passing craft; there was instituted at some time 
or other before the seventeenth century a ferry between its 
southern point and Greenwich, a road to meet the ferry run- 
ning north through the island. Pepys crossed once by this 
ferry in order to attend a wedding. It was in the plague 
year, when one would have thought weddings were not com- 
mon and wedding festivities dangerous things. But there 
was still manying and giving in marriage. He was with 
Sir George and Lady Carteret; they got across from Dept- 
ford in a boat, but found that their coach, which ought to 
have met them, had not come over by ferry, the tide having 
fallen too low. "I being in my new colored silk suit and 
coat trimmed with gold buttons and gold broad-lace round 
my hands, very rich and fine, ... so we were fain 
to stay there in the unlucky Isle of Dogs, in a chill place, the 
morning cool, the wind fresh, to our great discontent/' Why 
does he call the Isle of Dogs unlucky? 

In the middle of the island stood, all by itself, a little 


chapel. Nothing is known about its origin. I am inclined 
to think that, like many other chapels built on this river wall, 
on town walls, and on bridges, it was intended to protect 
the wall by prayers and masses, sung or said "with inten- 
tion." We have already found a hermitage by, or on, the 
wall at Wapping, another place of prayer for the mainte- 
nance of this important work. 

Why this peninsula was called the Isle of Dogs no one 
knows. One learned antiquary says that the King kept his 
hounds there when he stayed at Greenwich Palace. Perhaps. 
But the antiquary produces no proof that the royal kennels 
were ever set up here, and the person who trusts a little to 
common sense asks why the King should have sent his hounds 
across a broad and rapid river by a dangerous ferry when he 
had the whole of Greenwich Park and Black Heath in which 
to build his kennels. "Drowned dogs," suggests another, 
but doubtfully. No. I have never heard of drowned dogs 
being washed ashore in any number, either here or else- 
where. Drowned dogs, it is certain, were never an appre- 
ciable factor in the flotsam and jetsam of the Thames. 
"Not the Isle of Dogs," says another, "but the Isle of Ducks. 
Ducks, you see, from the wild ducks which formerly — " 
No; when the wall was built, which was probably in the 
Roman time, the wild ducks vanished, and as no tradition 
of any kind can be traced among the Saxons concerning the 
Roman occupation they never heard of these ducks. For my 
own part, I have no suggestion to offer, except a vague sus- 
picion that, as Pepys thought, there was a tradition of bad 
luck attaching in some form to the place, which was named 
accordingly. If a man on the downward path is said to be 
going to the dogs, a place considered as unlucky might very 
well have been called the Isle of Dogs. Now a level marsh 
without any inhabitants and adorned by gibbets and dangling 
dead bodies would certainly not be considered a lucky place. 
You must not expect anything in the place of the least 


antiquity. Yet a walk round the Isle of Dogs is full of in- 
terest. To begin with, the streets are wide and clean; the 
houses are all small, built for working-men; there are no 
houses of the better sort at all ; the children swarm, and are 
healthy, well fed, and rosy; the shops are chiefly those of 

The Thames Side at Limehouse. 

provisions and cheap clothing. All round the shore there 
runs an unbroken succession of factories. These factories 
support the thousands of working-men who form the popu- 
lation of the Isle of Dogs. All kinds of things are made, 
stored, received, and distributed in the factories of this in- 
dustrial island ; many of them are things which require to be 
carried on outside a crowded town, such as oil storage, oil, 
paint, color, and varnish, works; disinfectant fluid works, 
boiler-makers, lubricating-oil works; there are foundries of 


brass and iron, lead-smelting works, copper-depositing works, 
antimony and gold-ore works. All kinds of things wanted 
for ships are made here — cisterns and tanks, casks, steering- 
gear, tarpaulin, wire rope, sails, oars, blocks, and masts ; there 
are yards for building ships, barges, and boats. 

Of public buildings there are few : two churches and one 
or two chapels. There are Board-schools and church schools; 
there are no places of amusement, but posters indicate that 
theaters and music-halls are within reach. On the south of 
the island the London County Council has erected a most 
lovely garden. It is four or five acres in extent; there are 
lawns, trees, and flower-beds; there is a stately terrace run- 
ning along the river ; there are seats dotted about, and on cer- 
tain evenings in the summer a band plays. Above all, there is 
the view across the river. All day long that pageant, of which 
we have already spoken, goes up and down, never ending ; the 
ships follow each other — ^great ships, small ships, splendid 
ships, mean ships ; the noisy little tugs plow their way, pulling 
after them a long string of lighters heavily laden; the chil- 
dren, peeping through the iron railings, know all the ships, 
where they come from and to what "line" they belong. Be- 
yond the river is Greenwich Hospital, once a splendid monu- 
ment of the nation's gratitude to her old sailors, now a 
shameful monument of the nation's thanklessness. Would 
any other country so trample upon sentiment as to take away 
their hospital from the old sailors, to whom it belonged and 
to whom it had been given? The old pensioners are gone, 
and the people have lost the education in patriotism which 
the sight and discourse of these veterans once afforded them. 

It is needless to say that there is not a single book-shop 
in the Isle of Dogs ; we do not expect a book-shop anywhere 
in East London; there are also very few news-agents. I 
saw one, the whole of whose window was tastefully decorated 
with pictures from the "Illustrated Police Budget." These 
illustrations are blood-curdling: a lady bites another lady. 


such is the extremity of her wrath; a burglar enters a bed- 
room at night; a man with a revolver shows what revenge 
and jealousy can dare and do, and so on. I am sure that 
the people read other things; the "Police Budget" is not 
their only paper, but I confess that this was the only evi- 
dence of their favorite reading which I was able to discover 
when I was last on the island. There are no slums, I be- 
lieve, on the Isle of Dogs. I have never seen any Hooli- 
gfans. Larrikins, or any of that tribe — ^perhaps because they 
were all engaged in work, the harder the better. You will 
not see any drunken men, as a rule, nor any beggars, nor 
any signs of misery. We may conclude that the Isle of 
Dogs contains an industrious and prosperous population ; the 
air that they breathe, when the fresh breeze that comes up 
with the tide has dropped, is perhaps too heavily charged 
with the varied fragrance of the multitudinous works, with 
the noise of various industries : as for the hammering of ham- 
mers, the grinding and blowing and whirring of engines, to 
these one gets accustomed. It is a place where one might 
deliberately choose to be bom, because, apart from the gen- 
eral well-being of the people and the healthfulness of the air, 
there is a spirit of enterprise imbibed by every boy who grows 
up in this admirable island. It is engendered by the univer- 
sal presence of the sailor and the ship; wherever the sailor 
and the ship are found there springs up naturally in every 
child the spirit of adventure. 

A large part of the island is occupied by docks — ^the 
West India docks, the Blackwall Basin, and the Millwall 
Dock. We need not enter into the statistics of the ton- 
nage and the trade; it is sufficient to remember that the 
docks are always receiving ships, and that the sailors are 
always getting leave to go ashore, and that some of them 
have their wives and families living in the Isle of Dogs. 
That would be in itself sufficient to give this suburb a ma- 
rine flavor; but think what it means for a boy to live in a 


place where at every point his eyes rest upon a forest of 
masts, where he is always watching the great ships as they 
work out of dock or creep slowly in; think what it means 
when, in addition to living beside these great receiving docks, 
he can look through doors half open and see the old-fashioned 
repairing dock, with the wooden sailing ship shored up and 
the men working at her ribs, while her battered old figure- 
head and her bowsprit stick out ov^r the wall of the dock 
and over the street itself. The Tritons and the Oceanides, 
the spirits of the rolling sea, open their arms with invita- 
tion to such a boy. "Come," they say, "thou too shalt be 
a sailor, it is thy happy fate; come with a joyful heart; we 
know the place, deep down among the tiny shells of ocean, 
where thou shalt lie, but not till after many years. Come. 
It is the sweetest life of any; there is no care or cark for 
money; there is no struggle on the waves for casual work 
and for bare food; no foul diseases lurk on the broad At- 
lantic; the wind of the sea is pure and healthy, the fo'c'sle 
is cheerful, and the wage is good." And so he goes, this 
favorite of fortune. 

For some strange reason the gates of the docks are al- 
ways bright and green in spring and summer with trees and 
Virginia creepers, which are planted at the entrance and 
grow over the lodge. Within, flower-beds are visible. Out- 
side, the cottages for the dock people also have bright and 
pleasant little front gardens. To the forest of masts, to the 
bowsprit sticking out over the street, to the ships that are 
warped in and out the dock, add the pleasing touch of the 
trees and flowers and the creepers before we leave the Isle 
of Dogs — ^that "unlucky" isle, as Pepys called it. 

The last of the East London riverside hamlets is Black- 
wall. Where Blackwall begins no one knows. Poplar Sta- 
tion is in the middle of the place, included in the map within 
the letters which spell Blackwall. And where are the houses 
of Blackwall ? It is covered entirely with docks. There are 

Greenwich Hospital. 


the East India docks and the Poplar docks and the basin. 
There are also half a dozen of the little old repairing docks 
left, and there is a railway station with a terrace looking 
out upon the river; there is a street running east, and an- 
other running north. Both streets are stopped by Bow 
Creek; the aspect of both causes the visitor to glance ner- 
vously about him for a protecting policeman. And here, as 
regards the riverside, we may stop. Beyond Bow Creek we 
are outside the limits of London. There follow many more 
former hamlets — West Ham, East Ham, Canning Town, 
Silverton, and others — ^now towns. These places, for us, 
must remain names. 





I DO not mean the old wall of London, that which was 
built by the Romans, was rebuilt by Alfred, was repaired 
and maintained at great cost until the sixteenth century, 
when it began to be neglected, as it was no longer of any use 
in the defense of the City. For two hundred years more the 
gates still stood, but the wall was pulled down and built upon, 
no one interfering. That wall is gone, save for fragments 
here and there. I speak of another wall, and one of even 
greater importance. 

No one knows when this other wall was first built. It 
was so early that all record of its building has been lost. It 
is the wall by which the low-lying marshes of the Thames, 
once overflowed by every high tide, were protected from the 
river and converted into pastures and meadow-land and plow- 
land. It is the wall which runs all along the north bank of 
the river and is carried round the marshy Essex shores and 
round those Essex islands which were once broad expanses 
of mud at low tide, and at high tide shallow and useless 
stretches of water. It protects also the south bank wherever 
the marsh prevails. It has been a work of the highest im- 
portance, to London first, and to the country next. It has 
converted a vast malarious belt of land into a fertile coun- 
try, and it has made East London possible, because a great 
part of East London is built upon the reclaimed marsh, now 
drained and dry. In order to understand what the wall 



means, what it is, what it has done, and what it is doing, we 
must get beyond the houses and consider it as it runs along 
the riverside, with fields on the left hand and the flowing 
water many feet higher than the fields on the right. 

In order to get at the wall, then, we must take the train 
to Barking, about eight miles from London Bridge. This 
ancient village, once the seat of a rich nunnery, some re- 
mains of which you may still see there, is on the little river 
Roding; we walk down its banks to its confluence with the 
Thames. There, after suffering a while from the fumes of 
certain chemical works, we find ourselves on the wall, with 
no houses before us; we leave the works behind us, and we 
step out upon the most curious walk that one may find within 
the four seas that encompass our island. 

No one ever walks upon this wall ; once beyond the chem- 
ical works we are in the most lonely spot in the whole of 
England; no one is curious about it; no one seems to 
know that this remarkable construction, extending for about 
a hundred and fifty miles, even exists; you will see no one 
in the meadows that lie protected by the wall ; you may walk 
mile after mile along it in a solitude most strange and most 
mysterious. Even the steamer which works her noisy way 
up the broad river, even the barge with its brown sail, crawl- 
ing slowly up the stream with the flowing tide, does not de- 
stroy the sense of silence or that of solitude. We seem not 
to hear the screw of the steamer or even the scream of the 
siren; overhead the lark sings; there are no other birds vis- 
ible about the treeless fields; the tinkle of a sheep-bell re- 
minds one of Dartmoor and its silent hillsides. 

Presently there falls upon the pilgrim a strange feeling 
of mystery. The wall belongs to all the centuries which 
have known London ; it is a part of the dead past ; it speaks 
to him of things that have been; it reminds him of the 
Vikings and the Danes when they came sweeping up the 
river in their long, light ships, the shields hanging outside, 


the fair-haired, blue-eyed fighting men thirsting for the joy 
of battle; they are on their way to besiege London; they 
will pull down part of the bridge, but they will not take 
the City. The fresh breeze that follows with the flood re- 
minds him of the pageant and procession, the splendid pa- 
geant, the never-ending procession, of the trade which is 
the strength and the pride and the wealth of London, which 
has been passing before this wall for all these centuries, and 
always, as it passes now, unseen and unregarded, because no 
one ever stands upon the wall to see it. 

A strange, ghostly place. If one were to tell of a mur- 
der, this would be a fitting place for the crime. Perhaps, 
however, it might be difficult to persuade his victim to ac- 
company him. The murderer would choose the time be- 
tween the passing of two ships; no one could possibly see 
him ; he would conduct his victim along the wall, conversing 
pleasantly, till the favorable moment arrived. The deed ac- 
complished, he would leave the wall and strike across the 
fields till he found a path leading to the haunts of man. Any 
secret or forbidden thing might be conveniently transacted 
on the wall; it would be a perfectly safe place for the con- 
juration of conspirators and the concoction of their plans, 
or it would be a place to hide a stolen treasure, or a place 
where a hunted man could find refuge. 

Let us stand still for a moment and look around. The 
wall is about fifteen feet high ; at the base it is perhaps thirty 
feet wide; the sides slope toward the path on the top, which 
is about seven feet across; the outside is faced with stone; 
the inside is turfed. Looking south the river runs at our 
feet, the broad and noble river which carries to the port of 
London treasures from the uttermost ends of the earth and 
sends out other treasures in exchange. There are many 
rivers in the world which are longer and broader, — for in- 
stance, the Danube and the Rhine, even the Oronoco and the 
Amazon, — ^but if we consider the country through which the 


river flows, the wealth which it creates, the wealth which 
it distributes, the long history of the Thames, then, surely, it 
is the greatest of all rivers. As we stand over it we mark how 
its waters are stirred into little waves by the fresh breeze 
which never fails with the flood of the tide; how the sun 
lights up the current rolling upward in full stream, so that we 
think of strong manhood resolved and purposed ; it is not for 
nothing that the tide rolls up the stream. Then we mark the 
ships that pass, ships of all kinds, great and small ; the ships 
and the barges, the fishing smacks and the coasters, some that 
sail and some that steam; the heavy timber ship from the 
Baltic, the Newcastle collier, the huge liner ; they pass in suc- 
cession along the broad highway, one after the other. This 
splendid pageant of London trade is daily offered for the ad- 
miration of those upon the wall. But it is a procession with 
no spectators; day after day it passes unregarded, for no 
one walks upon the wall. And if a stray traveler stands to 
look on, the pageant presently becomes a thing of the imagi- 
nation, a dream, an effect of animated photographs. 

On the land side lie the fields which have been rescued 
from this tidal flow; they are obviously below the level of 
the river; one understands, looking across them, how the 
river ran of old over these flats, making vast lagoons at high 
tide. It is useful to see the fact recorded in a book or on 
a map; but here one sees that it really must have been so. 
Gradually, as one passes along the wall and looks landward, 
the history of the reclamation of the marsh unfolds itself; 
we see in places, here and there, low mounds, which are lines 
of former embankments; these are not all parallel with the 
river; they are thrust forward, protected by banks at the side, 
small pieces rescued by some dead and gone farmer, who 
was rewarded by having as his own, with no rent to pay, 
the land he had snatched from the tide. Perhaps it was 
long before rent was thought of; perhaps it was easier to 
build the bank and to take a slip of the foreshore and the 



marsh, with its black and fertile soil, than it was to cut 
down the trees in the forest and to clear the land; perhaps 
these embankments were constructed by the lake dwellers, 
who made their round huts upon piles driven into the mud, 
and after many thousands of years made the discovery that 
it was better to be dry than wet, and better to have no marsh 
fevers to face than to g^row inured to them. 

When was this wall built? How long has it been stand- 
ing? Is it the first original wall? Have there been rebuild- 
ings? Learned antiquaries have proved that long before 
the advent of the Romans the south of Britain was occu- 
pied by people who had learned such civilization as Gauls 
had to teach them. This was no small advance, as you 
would acknowledge if you looked into the subject; they knew 
many arts; they already had many wants; they had arrived 
at a certain standard of comfort; they carried on an exten- 
sive trade. 

How long ago ? It is quite impossible to answer that ques- 
tion. But there are other facts ascertained. Let us sum 
them up in order. 

1. South Britain, at least, and probably the Midland as 
well, had the same religion, the same arts, the same customs, 
the same forms of society, as Gaul. 

2. There was an extensive trade between Britain and Gaul 
— of what antiquity no one knows. 

3. When we first hear of London it was a place of resort 
for many foreign merchants. 

4. Tessellated pavements of Roman date have been found 
in Southwark at a level lowef than that of the river. 

5. Tacitus made Galgacus, the British leader, indignant 
because the Britons were compelled by the Romans to expend 
their strength and labor on fencing off woods and marshes. 

6. Roman buildings are found behind the wall in Essex. 
To this point I will return immediately. 

7. No settlement or building or cultivation whatever was 



possible beside the river anywhere near London until the 
wall had been built. 

8. Are we to believe that a city possessing a large trade, 
attracting many foreign merchants, would have continued to 
stand in the midst of a vast malarious swamp ? 

9. Indications have been found of an older wall, consist- 
ing of trunks of trees laid beside each other, the interstices 
crammed with small branches. Such a rude wall might be 
effective in keeping back the g^eat body of water. 

ID. In order to arrive at the civilization represented by a 
large foreign trade and a trading city there must have been 
many years of communication and intercourse. In fact, I see 
no reason why London should not have existed as a trading- 
place for centuries after Thorney was practically deserted, 
having ferries instead of a bridge, and centuries before the 
coming of the Romans. 

These considerations show the conclusion to which I have 
arrived. For centuries there had been a constant intercourse 
between the Gauls and the southern Britons ; trading centers 
had been established, notably in Thorney Island, at South- 
ampton, at Lymne, which was afterward an important 
Roman station, and at Dover. When the ships began to sail 
up the Thames the superior position of London was discov- 
ered, and that port quickly took over the greater part of the 
trade by the Thorney route. When London grew, it became 
important to reclaim the malarious marsh and the wasted 
miles of mud. Some kind of embankment, perhaps that old 
kind with trunks of trees, was constructed. At first they 
put up the wall on the opposite side, which the Saxons after- 
ward called the South Work (Southwark), meaning the river 
wall and not a wall of fortification; then they pushed out 
branches on the north side and they carried the wall gradu- 
ally, not all at once, but taking years, even centuries, over the 
work, down the Thames, along the Essex shores and round 
the mud islands, but the last not till modern times. 


At the end of the Essex wall there is an instructive place 
at which to consider its probable date. 

It is a very lovely and deserted place, about a mile and 
a half from a picturesque little village, five or six miles from 
a railway station, called Bradwell — I suppose the meaning of 
the name is the broad wall. When the visitor reaches the 
seashore he finds the wall running along, a fine and massive 
earthwork ; but behind the wall, and evidently built after the 
wall, there are the earthworks of a Roman fortress ; you can 
still trace the ramparts after all these years though the inte- 
rior is now plowed up; this was one of the forts by means 
of which the count of the Saxon shore (Comes littoris 
Saxonici) kept the country safe from the pirates, always on 
the watch for the chance of a descent; his ships patrolled 
the narrow seas, but always, up the creeks and rivers, all the 
way from Ostend to Norway, lay the pirate, — Saxon, Dane, 
Viking, — ^watching, waiting, ready to cross over if those 
police ships relaxed their watchfulness, ready to harry and 
to murder. You may stand on the wall, where the Roman 
sentinel kept watch ; you may strain your eyes for a sight of 
the pirate fleet, fifty ships strong and every ship stout, clinker 
built, sixty feet long and carrying a hundred men. As soon 
as the Romans took their ships away they did come, and 
they came to stay, and as soon as the Saxons forgot their 
old science of navigation the Danes came, and after the 
Danes, or with them, the men of Norway. Long after this 
Roman fortress had been deserted and forgotten, so that 
to the people it was nothing more than a collection of mounds 
round which clung some vague tradition of terror, a person, 
whose very name is now unknown, built here a chapel dedi- 
cated to St. Peter; the chapel, still called St. Peter's on the 
Wall, is now a barn. Ruined chapel, ruined fortress, both 
stand beside the wall, which still fulfils its purpose and keeps 
out the waters from the lowlands within. 

Why do I mention this chapel? What has it to do with 


East Lx)ndon ? Well, consider two or three facts in connection 
with this chapel. If you walk along the wall you presently 
come to a little village church; it is called the Church of 
West Thurrock; the church, like that old chapel of St. Peter, 
stands beside, or on, the wall ; it is a venerable church ; it has 
its venerable churchyard; it is filled with the graves of rus- 
tics brought here to lie in peace for a thousand years and 
more. And there is no village, or hamlet, or farm, or any- 
thing within sight. It was built beside the wall. Again, 
they built two churches at least, beside, or on, the wall of 
London City, not to speak of the churches built at five gates 
of the City; they built a hermitage beside the wall at Wap- 
ping ; another by the city wall at Aldgate ; on London Bridge 
they built a chapel; on the wall in Essex, as we have seen, 
they built a chapel. I see in all these churches and chapels 
built beside, or on, a wall, so many chapels erected for prayers 
for the preservation of the wall; at West Thurrock the 
people of the farmhouses made the chapel their parish church, 
and so it has continued to the present day. But it was origi- 
nally a chapel on the wall, intended to consecrate and pro- 
tect the wall. Perhaps there are others along the wall, but 
I do not know of any. 

I have said that it is possible that the wall stands upon 
the site of earlier attempts to rescue the land and to keep i 

out the water. For instance, when the excavations were 
made for the foundation of the new London Bridge, three 
separate sets of piles for rescuing more and more of the fore- 
shore were laid bare, and lower down the river, as I have 
said, the workmen found, in repairing the wall, a very curi- 
ous arrangement of trunks of trees laid one upon the other, ) 
with branches and brushwood between, evidently part of a 
wooden work meant for a dam or tidal wall. 

The maintenance of the wall has always been a costly -* 

business; the tides find out the weak places, and bore into 
them and behind them like a gimlet that grows every day 



larger and longer and more powerful. For instance, there 
was a flourishing monastery near the junction of the Lea 
with the Thames ; it was called the House of Stratford Lang- 
thome. One morning the brethren woke to find that the 
river wall had given way and that their pastures and mea- 
dows, their cornlands and their gardens were all three feet 
deep in water. They had to get away as fast as they could 
and to remain in a much smaller and more uncomfortable 
cell, on higher ground, until the wall could be patched up 
again. In the fifteenth century the pious ladies of Barking 
Nunnery made a similar discovery ; their portion of the river 
wall had broken down. They had no funds for its repair. 
Then King Richard, the third of that name, came to their 
assistance. This pious monarch had got through with most 
of his enemies and nearly all his relations, and was just then 
going off to settle matters with his cousin, Henry the Welsh- 
man, when this misfortune to the Barking nuns happened. 

Fifty years later the Plumstead marshes were "drowned" 
by the breaking of the wall. In 1690 the Grays Marsh, 
lower down the river, was overflowed by the same accident ; 
in 1707 the wall gave way at a place called Dagenham; it 
took nearly twenty years to repair the wall, which was car- 
ried away time after time ; the receding tide carried out into 
the bed of the river so much earth that a bank was formed 
in mid-channel, and it seemed as if the river would be choked. 
At last, however, it was found possible to construct a wall 
which would stand the highest tide. If we walk along this 
part of the wall we observe a large black pool of water ; this 
was left behind when the wall shut out the river; the lake 
still remains and is full of fish, and on Sundays it is sur- 
rounded by anglers, who stand all day long intent upon expec- 
tations which are seldom rewarded. Out of this lake and 
its fishing originated the ministerial white-bait dinner. It 
began when the occupant of a house beside this lake invited 
William Pitt to dine with him in order to taste the eels of 


the pond and the white-bait of the river. Pitt brought other 
members of the Cabinet, the dinner became a yearly institu- 
tion, the place was presently transferred from Dagenham to 
Greenwich, and the ministerial white-bait dinner was held 
every year, in June or July, until ten or twelve years ago, 
when the pleasant institution was stopped. 

To return to the date of the wall. We have seen that 
nobody knows when it was put up, that it must have been 
there in some form or other for a very long time. It is 
tolerably certain that the wall was either built by the Romans 
or that it existed before their time. My own belief is, as 
I have stated, that it was put up here and there as occasion 
or necessity served, that some of the land was rescued strip 
by strip, each time by a new wall advanced before the others. 
Embankments, mounds, and traces of a more ancient wall 
can be observed, as I have said, at many points ; it is worthy 
of note that in the county of Lincoln, where there is also 
the necessity of a sea-wall, there are two, one standing at a 
distance of half a mile in advance of the other. And I think 
that this process of rescuing the land has gone on at intervals 
to the present day. Even now there are broad stretches of 
mud along the Essex shore which might be reclaimed; at 
the present moment there are projects afloat for reclaiming 
the whole of the Wash, but the conditions of agriculture 
in England are no longer such as to encourage any attempts 
to add more acres to estates which at present seem unable 
to pay either landlord or farmer. 

I have said enough, however, to show that this earthwork, 
so much neglected and so little known, is really a most im- 
portant structure; that it has made East London possible, 
and London itself healthy, while it has converted miles and 
miles of barren swamp into smiling meadows and fertile 




EAST LONDON— one cannot repeat it too often — is a 
city of working bees. As we linger and loiter among 
the streets multitudinous, we hear, as from a hive, the low, 
contented murmur of continuous and patient work. There 
are two millions of working-people in this city. The chil- 
dren work at school; the g^rls and boys, and the men and 
women, work in factory, in shop, and at home, in dock and 
in wharf and in warehouse; all day long and all the year 
round, these millions work. They are clerks, accountants, 
managers, foremen, engineers, stokers, porters, stevedores, 
dockers, smiths, craftsmen of all kinds. They are girls who 
make things, girls who sew things, girls who sell things. 
There are among them many poor, driven, sweated creatures, 
and the sweaters themselves are poor, driven, sweated crea- 
tures, for sweating once begim is handed on from one to 
the other as carefully and as religiously as any holy lamp of 
learning. They work from early morning till welcome even- 
ing. The music of this murmur, rightly understood, is like 
the soft and distant singing of a hymn of praise. For the 
curse of labor has been misunderstood; without work man 
would be even as the beasts of the field. It is the necessity 
of work that makes him human ; of necessity he devises and 
discovers and invents, because he would die if he did not 
work; and because he has to subdue the animal within him. 
The animal is solitary ; the man must be gregarious. He must 



make a friend of his brother, he must obey the stronger, he 
must make laws, he must fight with nature, and compel her 
to give up her secrets. It is only by means of work that 
man can rise; it is his ladder; in the sweat of his face 
he eats his bread — ^yea, the bread of life. It is not with 
any pity that we should listen to this murmur. It should be 
with pure contentment and gratitude, for the murmur, though 
it speaks partly of the whirr of ten thousand wheels and 
partly of those who stand and serve those wheels, speaks 
also of this blessed quality of work, that it enables men to 
use the body for the sake of the soul. Man must work. 

Imagine, if you can, what would follow if you held up 
your hand and said: "Listen, all. There will be no more 
work. You may stop the engines, or they may run down 
of their own accord. You may take off your aprons and 
wash your hands. You may all sit down for the rest of your 
lives. Your food will be waiting for you when you want 
it. Eat, drink, and be happy if you can." If they can! 
But can they, with nothing to do — no work to do, only, like 
the sheep in the field, to browse, or, like the wolves of the 
forest, to rend and tear and slay? 

If you can use your eyes as well as your ears, look about 
you. It is really like looking at a hive of bees, is it not? 
There are thousands of them, and they are all alike; they are 
all doing the same thing; they are all living the same lives; 
they wake and work and rest and sleep, and so life passes 
by. If you look more closely you will observe differences. 
No two human creatures, to begin with, are alike in face. 
More closely still, and you will discover that in the greatest 
crowd, where the people are, like sheep in a fold, huddled 
together, every one is as much for himself — ^there is as much 
individuality here — ^as in the places where every one stands 
by himself and has room to move in and a choice to make. 

Let us take a single creature out of these millions. Per- 
haps if we learn how one lives, how one regards the world, 


we may understand, in some degree, this agitated, confused, 
restless, incoherent, inarticulate mass. 

I introduce you to a baby. Her name is Liz. She has 
as yet but a few days of life behind her. She is hardly con- 
scious of hunger, cold, or uneasiness, or any of the things 
with which life first makes its beginning apparent to the 
half-awakened brain. She opens eyes that understand noth- 
ing — ^neither form, nor distance, nor color, nor any differ- 
ences ; she sees men, like trees, walking. When she is hun- 
gry she wails ; when she is not hungry she sleeps. We will 
leave the child with her mother, and we will stand aside and 
watch while the springs and siunmers pass, and while she 
grows from an infant to a child, a girl, a woman. 

The room where the baby lies is a first-floor front, in a 
house of four rooms and a ruinous garret, belonging to a 
street which is occupied, like all the streets in this quarter, 
wholly by the people of the lower working-class. This is 
London Street, Ratcliffe. It is a real street, with a real 
name, and it is in a way typical of East London of the lower 
kind. The aristocracy of labor, the foremen and engineers 
of shipyards and works, live about Stepney Church, half a 
mile to the north. Their streets are well kept, their door- 
steps are white, their windows are clean, there are things 
displayed in the front windows of their houses. Here you 
will see a big Bible, here a rosewood desk, here a vase full 
of artificial flowers, here a bird-cage with foreign birds, — 
Awadavats, Bengalees, love-birds, or a canary, — ^here a glass 
case containing coral or "Venus's fingers" from the Philip- 
pines, here something from India carved in fragrant wood, 
here a piece of brasswork from Benares. There is always 
something to show the position and superiority of the tenant. 
It is the distinctive mark of the lower grades of labor that 
they have none of these ornaments. Indeed, if by any chance 
such possessions fell in their way they would next week be 
in the custody of the pawnbroker; they would "go in." 


We are, then, in a first-floor front. Look out of the win- 
dow upon the street below : meanwhile the baby grows. The 
street contains forty houses. Each house has four rooms, two 
or three have six ; most of the people have two rooms. There 
are, therefore, roughly speaking, about one hundred families 
residing in this street. The door-steps, the pavement, and the 
roadway are swarming with children ; the street is their only 
playground. Here the little girl of six bears about in her 
arms, staggering under the weight, but a careful nurse, her 
little sister, aged twelve months ; here the children take their 
breakfast and their dinner; here they run and play in sum- 
mer and in winter. It seems to be never too hot or too 
cold for them. They are ragged, they are bareheaded, they 
are barefooted and barelegged, their toys are bits of wood 
and bones and oyster-shells, transformed by the imagina- 
tion of childhood into heaven knows what of things pre- 
cious and splendid. Of what they have not they know noth- 
ing; but, then, they mind nothing, therefore pity would be 
thrown away upon them. It is the only world they know; 
they are happy in their ignorance; they are feeling the first 
joy of life. By their ruddy faces and sturdy limbs you can 
see that the air they breathe is wholesome, and that they 
have enough to eat. 

The room is furnished sufficiently, according to the stan- 
dards of the family. There is a table, with two chairs ; there 
is a chest of drawers with large glass handles. On this 
chest stands a structure of artificial flowers under a glass 
shade. This is the sacred symbol of respectability. It is for 
the tenement what the Bible or the coral in the window is 
for the house. So long as we have our glass shade with its 
flowers we are in steady work, and beyond the reach of 
want. On each side of the glass shade are arranged the 
cups and saucers, plates and drinking-glasses, belonging to 
the family. There are also exhibited with pride all the bot- 
tles of medicine recently taken by the various members. 


It is a strange pride, but one has observed it among people 
of a more exalted station. There are also set out with the 
bottles certain heart-shaped velvet pincushions, made by the 
sailors, and considered as decorations of the highest aesthetic 
value. The chest of drawers is used for the clothes of the 
family — ^the slender supplement of what is on the family 
back. It is also the storehouse for everything that belongs 
to the daily life. There is a cupboard beside the chimney, 
with two shelves. Any food that may be left over, and the 
small supplies of tea and sugar, are placed on the upper 
shelf, coals on the lower. On the table stands, always ready, 
a teapot, and beside it a half-cut loaf and a plate with mar- 
garine, the substitute for butter. Margarine is not an un- 
wholesome compound. It is perhaps better than bad butter ; 
it is made of beef fat, clarified and colored to resemble butter. 
I am told that other people eat it in comfortable assurance 
that it is butter. 

When the child grows old enough to observe things she 
will remark, from time to time, the absence of the chest 
of drawers. At other times she will discover that the 
drawers are empty. These vacuities she will presently con- 
nect with times of tightness. When money is scarce and 
work is not to be got things "go in" of their own accord; 
the pawnbroker receives them. 

She will learn more than this; she will learn the g^eat 
virtue of the poor, the virtue that redeems so many bad 
habits — generosity. For the chest of drawers and the best 
clothes are more often "in*' to oblige a neighbor in difficul- 
ties than to relieve their own embarrassments. The people 
of Ratcliflfe are all neighbors and all friends; to be sure, 
they are frequently enemies, otherwise life would be monoto- 
nous. Always some one is in trouble, always some of the 
children are hungry, always there is rent to pay, always there 
is some one out of work. Liz will learn that if one can help, 
one must. She will learn this law without any formula 


or written code, not out of books, not in church, not in 
school; she will learn it from the daily life around her. 
Generosity will become part of her very nature. 

You will perceive, however, that this child is not born of 
the very poor; her parents are not in destitution; her father 
is, in fact, a docker, and, being a big, burly fellow, bom 
and brought up in the country, he gets tolerably regular em- 
ployment and very fair wages. If he would spend less than 
the third or the half of his wages in drink his wife might 
have a four-roomed cottage. But we must take him as he 
is. His children suffer no serious privation. They are 
clothed and fed; they have the chance of living respectably, 
and with such decencies as belong to their ideals and their 
standards. In a word, Liz will be quite a commonplace, 
average girl of the lower working-class. 

The first duty of a mother is to "harden" the baby. With 
this view, Liz was fed, while still a tiny infant, on rusks 
soaked in warm water, and when sbe was a year old her 
mother began to give her scraps of beefsteak, slightly fried, 
to suck; she also administered fish fried in oil — ^the incense 
and fragrance of this delicacy fills the whole neighborhood, 
and hangs about the streets day and night like a cloud. For 
drink she gave the baby the water in which whiting had 
been boiled; this is considered a sovereign specific for build- 
ing up a child's constitution. Sometimes, it is true, the 
treatment leads to unforeseen results. Another child, for in- 
stance, about the same age as Liz, and belonging to the same 
street, was fed by its mother on red herring, and, oddly 
enough, refused to get any nourishment out of that delight- 
ful form of food. They carried it to the Children's Hos- 
pital, where the doctor said it was being starved to death, and 
made the most unkind remarks about the mother — ^most un- 
just as well, for the poor woman had no other thought or 
intention than to "harden the inside" of her child, and all 
the friends and neighbors were called in to prove that plenty 
of herring had been administered. 


As soon as Liz was three years of age she had the same 
food as her parents and elder sisters. You shall dine with 
the family presently. For breakfast and tea and supper, and 
for any occasional "bever" or snack, she had a slice of bread 
and margarine, which she cut for herself when, like Mrs. 
Gamp, so disposed. It was indeed terrifying to see the small 
child wielding a bread-knife nearly as big as herself. She 
got plenty of pennies when work was regular; nobody is 
so generous with his pennies as the man who needs them 
most. She spent these casual windfalls in sweets and apples, 
passing the latter round among her friends for friendly bites, 
and dividing the former in equal portions. This cheap con- 
fectionery for the children of the kerb and the door-step sup- 
plies the place of sweet puddings, for the mystery of the 
pudding is unfortunately little known or imderstood by the 
mothers of Ratcliffe. 

In the matter of beer, Liz became very early in life ac- 
quainted with its taste. There is a kind of cheap porter, 
sold at three farthings a pint, considered grateful and com- 
forting by the feminine mind of Ratcliffe. What more natu- 
ral than that the child should be invited to finish what her 
mother has left of the pint? It would not be much. What 
more motherly, when one is taking a little refreshment in a 
public house, than to give a taste to the children playing on 
the pavement outside ? And what more natural than for the 
children to look for these windfalls, and to gather round the 
public house expectant? It seems rough on the little ones 
to begin so early; it is contrary to modem use and custom, 
but we need not suppose that much harm is done to a child 
by giving it beer occasionally. Formerly all children had 
beer for breakfast, beer for dinner, and beer for supper. 
In Belgium very little children have their bock for dinner. 
The mischief in the case of our Liz and her friends was 
that she got into the habit of looking for drink more stimu- 
lating than tea, and that the habit remained with her and 
grew with her. 


At three years of age Liz passed, so to speak, out of the 
nursery, which was the door-step and the kerb, into the school- 
room. She was sent to the nearest Board-school, where she 
remained under instruction for eleven long years. She began 
by learning certain highly important lessons; first, that she 
had to obey; next, that she had to be quiet; and, thirdly, 
that she had to be clean. As regards the first and second, 
obedience and order were not enforced in the nursery of 
London Street. They were, it is true, sometimes enjoined 
with accompaniment of a cuff and a slap, not unkindly meant, 
in the home. As for cleanliness, one wash a week, namely, 
on Sunday morning, had hitherto been considered sufficient 
It was, however, a thorough wash. The unkempt locks, 
brown with the dust and grime of a week's street play, came 
out of the tub a lovely mass of light-brown, silky curls; the 
child's fair skin emerged from its coating of mud ; her rosy 
cheeks showed their natural color; her round, white arms 
fairly shone and glowed in the sunshine. On Sunday morn- 
ing Liz presented the appearance of a very pretty child, clean 
and fair and winsome. As soon as she went to school, how- 
ever, she had to undergo the same process every morning 
except Saturday. If she appeared in school unwashed she 
had to go home again; not only that, but there was often 
unpleasantness in the matter of pinafore. Saturday is a 
school holiday, therefore no one washes on Saturday, and 
face and hands and pinafore may all go grimy together. 

Liz remained at school from three to fourteen years of 
age. What she learned I do not exactly know. Some years 
ago I looked through some "readers" for Board-schools, and 
came to the conclusion that nothing at all could be learned 
from them, counting scraps as worth nothing. But I hear 
that they have altered their "readers." Still, if you remem- 
ber that no one has any books at all in London Street, that 
even a halfpenny paper is not often seen there, that no talk 
goes on which can instruct a child in anything, you will 

In an East-End GJn-Shop. 


own that a child may be at school even for eleven years 
and yet learn very little. And since she found no means 
of carrying on her education after she left school, no free 
libraries, no encouragement from her companions, you will 
not be surprised to hear that all she had learned from books 
presently dropped from her like a cloak or wrapper for which 
she had no further use. Let us be reasonable. The Board- 
school taught her, besides a certain small amount of tem- 
porary and short-lived book-lore, some kind of elementary 
manners — a respect, at least, for manners ; the knowledge of 
what manners may mean. The clergy and the machinery of 
the parish cannot teach these things. It can be done only 
at the Board-school. It is the school, and not the church, 
which softens manners and banishes some of the old bru- 
tality, because, you see, they do not go to church, and they 
must go to school. How rough, how rude, the average girl 
of Ratcliflfe was before the Board-schools were opened, Liz 
herself neither knows nor comprehends. These schools have 
caused the disappearance of old characteristics once thought 
to be ingrained habits. Their civilizing influence during the 
last thirty years has been enormous. They have not only 
added millions to the numbers of those who read a great 
deal and perhaps — ^but this is doubtful — ^think a little, but 
they have abolished much of the old savagery. I declare 
that the life of this street as it was thirty or forty years 
ago simply could not be written down with any approach 
to truth in these pages. 

Let me only quote the words of Professor Huxley, who 
began life by practising as a medical man in this quarter. 
"I have seen the Polynesian savage," I once heard him say 
in a speech, "in his primitive condition, before the mis- 
sionary or the blackbirder or the beach-comber got at him. 
With all his savagery, he was not half so savage, so unclean, 
so irreclaimable, as the tenant of a tenement in an East 
London slum." These words open the door to unbounded 


flights of imagination. Leave that vanished world, leave 
the savage slum of Huxley's early manhood, to the region of 
poetry and fancy, to the unwritten, to the suggested, to the 
half-whispered. It exists no longer; it has been improved. 

Liz passed through school, then, from one standard to 
the next. We have seen that she learned manners, order, 
obedience, and the duty of cleanly clothes and cleanly lan- 
guage. She learned also to love teacher and school. Teacher 
came to see her when she was ill, and brought her nice 
things. Teacher kissed her. There were others, however, 
who took a mean advantage of her affectionate nature, and 
used it as a means of keeping her out of mischief — ladies 
who went in and out of the streets and houses, not afraid of 
anything; who gathered the children together on Sundays, 
and sang with them and talked to them, and gave them 
oranges. These ladies knew all the children. When they 
walked down the streets the very little ones ran after them, 
clinging to their skirts, catching at their hands, in the hope 
of a word and a kiss. Liz, among the rest, was easily soft- 
ened by kindness. She had two schools, — that provided by 
the country and that provided by these ladies, who taught 
her more than books can teach, — and both schools, if you 
please, were provided for nothing. Whatever may happen 
to Liz in after life, her respect for manners and for the life 
of order will remain. And sometimes, when things look 
very black and there is real cause for sadness and repent- 
ance, this respect may be the poor girl's most valuable asset. 

At the age of fourteen, when she had to leave school, she 
was a sturdy, well-built girl, square-shouldered, rather 
short, but of a better frame than most of her companions, 
because her father was country-born; her features were 
sharp, her face was plain, but not unpleasing; her gray eyes 
were quick and restless, her lips were mobile ; her cheek was 
somewhat pale, but not worn and sunken. She looked 
abounding in life and health; she was full of fun, and quick 


to laugh on the smallest provocation; she was ready-witted 
and prompt with repartee and retort ; she danced as she went 
along the street, because she could not walk sedately; if a 
barrel-organ came that way she danced in the road, knowing 
half a dozen really pretty steps and figures. She had some- 
thing in her quick movements, in the restlessness of her eyes, 
in the half -suspicious turn of the head, of the street spar- 
row, the only bird which she knew. If you grow up among 
street sparrows there is every reason for the adoption of 
some of their manners; the same resemblance to the spar- 
row, which is an impudent, saucy bird, always hungry, al- 
ways on the lookout for something more, may be observed 
in other street children. She was affectionate with her com- 
panions, but always watchful for her own chance. 

In her views of the conduct of life she was no strict mor- 
alist. She was ready to condone some things which more 
rigid maidens condemn. She would not, for instance, bear 
malice because her brother, for one of the smaller crimes, 
such as gambling on the pavement, got into trouble; nor 
would she judge him harshly if he was found in the posses- 
sion of things "picked up" — ^unconsidered trifles; nor would 
she resent being knocked down by her brother when in drink. 
She had too often seen her mother cuffed by her father when 
he came home drunk to feel any resentment about such a 
trifle. In sober moments her brother did not use his fist 
upon her, nor did her father, except under the provocation 
of drink, drive the whole family flying into the street by 
"taking the strap" to everybody. 

What did she know about the outer world? From her 
books and her school little enough. Her own country, like 
every other country, was to her a geographical expression. 
Even of London she knew nothing, though from the river 
stairs and foreshore she could see a good deal of it. Once 
a year, however, she had been taken for a day in the coun- 
try, either by train to the nearest seaside place, or by brakes 


and wagonettes to Epping Forest. She was therefore by no 
means ignorant of green fields. Why, there was the "Island 
Garden," in the Isle of Dogs, close at hand. But of trees 
and flowers and birds individually she knew nothing, and she 
never would know anything. A bird was a bird, a tree was 
a tree to her. On the whole of nature her mind was a blank. 
About her own country, its history, its position, its achieve- 
ments, she had learned something, but it was rapidly becom- 
ing a vague and dim memory; of literature she knew noth- 
ing. She had learned a little singing, and had an ear for 
melody. She never read either newspapers or books, not 
even penny story-books, therefore she added nothing to her 
scanty knowledge. 

What did she think about and what did she talk about? 
When one lives in a crowded street, where every family lives 
in one room, or in two at the most, there is an unfailing, 
perennial stream of interest in the fortune and the conduct, 
the good luck and the bad luck, of the neighbors. Liz and 
her companions did exactly what other people do in country 
towns much duller than London Street — ^they talked about 
one another and the people about them. They talked also 
of the time when they, like their elder sisters, would go about 
as they pleased : to the Queen's Music-hall and to the Pavilion 
Theatre; when they could enjoy the delights of walking up 
and down their favorite boulevard — it is called Brook Street 
— all the long winter evening, each with her young man. 
The young girls always talk about the life before them. 
They know perfectly what it is going to be; they see it all 
round them. Who are they that they should expect any- 
thing but the common round, the common lot? They also, 
like their elder sisters, talk of dress. Already they plan and 
contrive for some extra bit of finery. Let us not believe that 
Liz was ever troubled with vacuity of mind or with lack 
of interest in her thoughts and conversation. There is in 
London Street even too much incident. Where there are 

The British Workman in Epping Forest. 


always in the street men out of work, families whose "sticks" 
are all "in," children who are kept alive by the generosity of 
other people, only not quite so poor as themselves; where 
there is always sickness, always violence, always drunken- 
ness, always lads taken away by the man in blue, and always 
the joy of youth and the animation of children and young 
girls — why, Piccadilly is a waste by comparison, and Berke- 
ley Square is like unto Tadmor in the desert. 

In the case of Liz and her friends there was an additional 
interest in the river and the craft of all kinds. The chil- 
dren would stand on RatclifFe Cross Stairs and gaze out 
upon the rushing tide and upon the ships that passed up and 
down. At low tide they ran out upon the mud, with bare 
feet, and picked up apronfuls of coal to carry home. Needs 
must that a child who lives within sight of ships should 
imagine strange things and get a sense of distance and of 
mystery. And sometimes a sailor would find his way to 
London Street — a sailor full of stories of strange lands across 
the seas, such as would make even the dullest of Ratcliffe 
girls launch out in imagination beyond the dim and dusty 

Once, for instance, a cousin came. It was at Christmas. 
Never was such a Christmas. He was a sailor. He came from 
the West India docks — or was it from Limehouse Basin ? It 
was the only time ; he never came again. But could any one 
privileged to be present ever forget the celebration of that 
home-coming ? He had money in his pocket — lots of money. 
He threw it all upon the table — nine pounds in gold, Liz 
remembered, and a heap of silver and copper. On Christmas 
eve the feast began. Relations and far-off cousins were 
found and invited. The family had two rooms. The com- 
pany, with the guests, numbered twenty-one. A barrel of 
beer and any quantity of whisky and gin were laid in for 
the occasion. No more joyful family reunion was ever 
known. Outside, there were the usual Christmas rejoic- 


ings. In the street the drunken men reeled about; there 
was an occasional fight; the houses were all lighted up, but 
nowhere was a nobler spread or a longer feast or a more 
joyous Christmas known than in those two rooms. It took 
three days and three nights. From Friday, which was 
Christmas eve, till Monday, which was Boxing-day, this 
feast continued. During all this time not one among them, 
man, woman, or child, undressed or went to bed. The 
children fell asleep, with flushed faces and heavy heads, in 
corners, on the landing, anywhere; the others feasted and 
drank, danced and sang, for three days and three nights. 
Now and then one would drop out and fall prone upon the 
floor; the others went on regardless. Presently the sleeper 
awoke, sat up, recovered his wandering wits, and joined the 
revelers again. 

For plenty and profusion it was like unto the wedding- feast 
of Camacho. There were roast geese and roast ducks, roast 
turkey and roast beef, roast pork and sausages and ham, and 
everything else that the shops at this festive season could 

On the third day, toward three in the afternoon of Mon- 
day, lo, a miracle! For the money was all gone, and the 
barrel of beer was empty, and the bottles were empty, and 
the bones of the geese and the turkeys were all that was 
left of the feast. The company broke up, the cousin departed, 
the family threw themselves upon the beds and slept the 
clock twice round. Who could forget this noble Christmas ? 
Who could forget a feast that lasted for three whole days 
and three long nights ? 

Liz had got through her school-time ; she must go to work. 

Of course, she knew all along what awaited her. She 
must do as the others did, she must enter a factory. She 
contemplated the necessity without any misgiving. Why 
should she not go into a factory? It was all in the natural 
order of things, like getting hungry or waking up in the 


morning. Every girl had to be cuffed, every girl had to get 
out of the way when her father was drunk, every g^rl had 
to go to work as soon as she left school. 

There is apparently a choice of work. There are many 
industries which employ girls. There is the match-making, 
there is the bottle-washing, there is the box-making, there 
is the paper-sorting, there is the jam-making, the fancy con- 
fectionery, the cracker industry, the making of ornaments 
for wedding-cakes, stockings for Christmas, and many others. 
There are many kinds of sewing. Virtually, however, this 
child had no choice; her sisters were in the jam factory, her 
mother had been in the jam factory, she too went to the jam 

There are many branches of work more disagreeable than 
the jam factory. Liz found herself at half-past seven in 
the morning in a huge building, where she was one among a 
thousand working women and girls, men and boys, but chiefly 
girls. The place was heavily laden with an overpowering 
fragrance of fruit and sugar. In some rooms the fruit was 
boiling in great copper pots ; in some girls were stirring the 
fruit, after it had been boiled, to get the steam out of it; 
in some machinery crushed and ground the sugar till it 
became as fine as flour. The place was like a mill. The 
flour of sugar hung about the room in a cloud of dust; it 
lay in such dust on the tables and the casks; it got into 
the girls' hair, so that they were fain to tie up their heads 
with white caps; it covered their clothes, and made them 
stick-y ; it made tables, benches, floor, all alike sticky. There 
were other developments of sugar ; sometimes it lay on tables 
in huge, flat cakes of soft gray stuff like gelatine ; they turned 
this mass, by their craft and subtlety, into innumerable 
threads of fine white silk ; they drew it through machines, and 
brought it out in all the shapes that children love. Then 
there were rooms full of cocoanut. They treated casks full 
of dessicated cocoanut till that also became like flour. There 


were other rooms full of almonds, which they stripped and 
bleached and converted also into fine flour; or they turned 
boxes of gelatine into Turkish delight and jujubes. All day 
long and all the year round they made crajkers; they made 
ornaments for wedding-cakes; they made favors; they made 
caramels ; they made acidulated drops ; they .^jnade things un- 
named except by children. In all these rooms girls worked 
by hundreds, some sitting at long tables, some boiling the 
sugar, filling the pots with jam, stirring the boiling fruit, 
feeding machinery, filling molds; all were as busy as bees 
and as mute as mice. Some of them wore white caps to 
cover their hair, some wore white aprons, some wore coarse 
sacking tied all round for a skirt to keep off stickiness. All 
day long the machinery whirred and pulsed an accompani- 
ment to the activity and industry of the place. 

"I like the smell," said Liz. First impressions are the 
best; she continued to like the smell and the factory and 
the work. 

She was stouter and stronger than most girls. They gave 
her a skirt of sacking, and put her where her strength would 
be of use. She liked the movement, she liked the exercise 
of her strong arms, and she liked the noise of the place; 
she liked the dinner-hour, with its talking and laughing; she 
liked the factory better than the school; she liked the pay- 
day, and the money which she kept for herself. 

I say that she liked the work and the sense of society and 
animation. About a year afterward, however, a strange and 
distressing restlessness seized her. Whether she was at- 
tracted by the talk of the other girls, or whether it was an 
instinctive yearning for change and fresh air, I know not. 
The thing was infectious. Many other girls compared their 
symptoms, and found them the same. Finally, the restless- 
ness proving altogether too much for the children, they took 
hands, thirty of them, and one Saturday afternoon, without 
bag or baggage, they ran away. 


They ran through Wapping and along Thames Street, 
which is empty on Saturday afternoon ; they ran across Lon- 
don Bridge, they poured into London Bridge Station. One 
of the girls knew the name of the station they wanted; it 
was in Kent. They took tickets, and they went off. 

They had gone hopping. 

Thousands of Londoners in the season go hopping. I 
wish I could dwell upon the delights of the work. Unfor- 
tunately, like the summer, it is too soon over. While it 
lasts the hoppers sleep in barns, they work in the open, they 
breathe fresh air, they get good pay, they enjoy every evening 
a singsong and a free-and-easy. The beer flows like a rivu- 
let ; everybody is thirsty, everybody is cheerful, everybody is 

When it was over Liz returned, browned and refreshed 
and strengthened, but fearful of the consequences, because 
she had deserted her work. But she was fortunate. They 
took her back into the factor}% and so she went on as before. 

Let us follow her through a single day. She had to be at 
the factory at half-past seven in the morning, and, with an 
hour off for dinner, to work till six. She made her break- 
fast on tea, bread and margarine, and a "relish." The relish 
included many possibilities. It depended mainly on the day 
of the week. It is obvious that what one can afford on a 
Monday is unattainable on a Friday. On Monday it might 
be a herring or a haddock, an egg or a rasher of bacon. 
On Friday and Saturday it would be a sprig of water-cress 
or a pickle. 

With all factory girls dinner is a continual source of anx- 
iety and disappointment, for the ambitions of youth are 
lofty, and the yearnings of youth are strong, and the resources 
of youth are scanty. Within the factory there were, for 
those who chose to use them, frying-pans and a gas-stove. 
The girls might cook their food for themselves. There was 
also hot water for making tea; but the factory girl detests 


cooking, and may be trusted to spoil and make unfit for 
human food whatever cooking is intrusted to her. Besides, 
there were the eating-houses. Here, if you please, were 
offered to the longing eyes of Liz, always hungry ^t half- 
past twelve, daily temptations to extravagance. Just think 
what the bill of fare every day offered to a girl of discern- 
ment in the matter of dinner. 

Saveloy and Pease Pudding 

German Sausages and Black Pudding 

Fried Fish and Pickles 


Pie-crust and Potatoes 

Fagots and Mustard Pickle 

Beans, Potatoes, Greens, Currant Pudding 

Jam Pudding 

The mere choice between these delicacies was bewildering, 
and, alas! on many days only the cheapest were attainable. 
Every day Liz pondered over the list and calculated the price. 
The meat-pie at twopence — glorious! But could she afford 
twopence? The jam pudding at one halfpenny! It seems 
cheap, and a good lump too, with a thick slab of red jam — 
plum jam — laid all over the top. But yet, even a halfpenny 
is sometimes dear. You see that dinner is wanted on seven 
days in the week. It was impossible to afford jam pudding 
every day. Fagots, again. They are only a penny hot, and 
three farthings cold. A fagot is a really toothsome prepara- 
tion. In appearance it is a square cake. In composition it 
contains the remnants and odd bits of a butcher's shop — 
beef, veal, mutton, lamb, with fat and gristle contributed by 
all the animals concerned. The whole is minced or tritu- 
rated. It is treated with spices and shreds of onion, and is 
then turned out in shapes and baked. No one in the posi- 
tion of our Liz can withstand the temptation of a fagot. 
The rich people who keep the shops, she believes, live ex- 


clusively on fagots. Wealth cannot purchase anything better 
than a fagot. 

To begin with, she had only five shillings a week. When 
we consider the Sunday dinner, her clothes and her boots, 
her share of the rent, her breakfast, her amusements, her 
clubs, of which we shall speak immediately, I do not think 
that she was justified in laying out more than twopence, or at 
the most twopence halfpenny, on her daily dinner. A meat- 
pie with potatoes, a fagot with mustard pickles and greens, 
and a jam pudding would absorb the whole of her daily 
allowance. It left this growing girl hungry after eating 
all of it. 

Meantime, the factory people are as careful about their 
girls as can be expected. They insist on their making a 
respectable appearance and wearing a hat. In many other 
ways they look after them. There is a good deal of paternal 
kindliness in the London employer, especially when he is in 
a large way. 

The factory girls of East London have shown a remark- 
able power of looking after themselves. Once or twice they 
have even had a strike. On one occasion they made a dem- 
onstration which made the government give in. It is old his- 
tory now. Once there was a certain statesman named Lowe 
— Bob Lowe, he was irreverently called. He made a con- 
siderable stir in his day, which was about five-and-twenty 
years ago. He was then Chancellor of the Exchequer. To- 
day I doubt if there are many young people in England 
under five-and-twenty who could pass an examination in the 
political career of Bob Lowe. He was a very fine scholar. 
He had been a fellow and lecturer of his college at Oxford : 
he had been a barrister practising in Australia, and he was 
believed to hold in contempt our colonial empire, and to hun- 
ger after the time when Great Britain would become a second 
Holland. Once he conceived the idea of a tax on matches. 
His scholarship supplied him with a punning motto, "Ex luce 


lucellum" ("from light a little profit"). The match-makers 
rebelled. They marched down to Westminster in their thou- 
sands. They demonstrated: they stated their grievance. 
Bob Lowe quailed, and the government withdrew the bill. 

Our young friend Liz had nothing to do with this prenatal 
business, which, had it happened in her own time, she would 
have greatly enjoyed. Where she showed her native ability 
was in the establishment of clubs. They were practical 
clubs ; they wxre organized upon an entirely new and original 
method. I can best explain it by giving an illustration. 
Thus, there is the one-pound club. Twenty girls agree to 
get up a one-pound club. For twenty weeks they have to 
subscribe each a shilling. To determine the order of taking 
the money they draw numbered tickets. The girl who draws 
No. I receives twenty shillings in a lump the first week ; the 
girl who draws No. 2 takes the second week's money, and 
so on. It is obvious that this method can be applied to 
anything, provided the girls who draw the earlier numbers 
play fair. It seems that they generally do. Should they 
shirk their duty, there are "ructions." The girl Liz could 
not, at first, aspire to the one-pound club. But there were 
humbler clubs — sixpenny, even penny, clubs. Thus, there 
were boot clubs, calico clubs, petticoat clubs, tea-fight clubs, 
jewelry clubs, and, but secretly and among the older girls 
who had sweethearts to consider and to please, there were 
spirit clubs, for gin and whisky, not for supernatural mani- 
festations. A girl cannot belong to all these clubs at once^ 
but the convenience of belonging to two or three at a time is 
very great. It enables a provident girl to keep her ward- 
robe in order by small weekly savings which are not much 
felt. In the matter of boots, now ; if one draws No. i there 
is a new pair at once ; suppose the pair lasts for three months, 
after six weeks another boot club might give the same girl 
the last number instead of the first, and so on. 

Her days were not spent wholly in the factory. At seven 


in the winter and at six in the summer she was free ; she had 
also her Saturday afternoons and her Sundays. In other 
words, she had a fair five hours of freedom every day, ten 
hours of freedom on Saturdays, and the whole of Sunday. 
Now, five hours a day of continuous freedom from work is 
as much as in any working community can be expected. 
It is a third of the waking day. How did Liz get through 
that time? 

She very soon got beyond her mother's control. It is not, 
indeed, the custom with many mothers to exercise authority 
over a girl at work. Liz did what other girls did. She 
therefore spent most of her evenings in the boulevard of her 
quarter, a place called Brook Street. Here she walked about, 
or ran about, or danced arm in arm with other girls, chaffing 
the lads, whom she treated, if she had the money, to a drink. 
She went sometimes to a music-hall, where some of the fac- 
tory girls "did a turn" or danced in the ballet. She wore no 
hat or bonnet in the street, and she retained the apron which 
is the badge of her class. She looked on with interest when 
there was a fight. She listened with a critical mind when 
there was an exchange of reproaches between two women. 

Then a girls' club got hold of her and persuaded her to 
come in. The club was run by some of those ladies of whom 
I have spoken, the same who trade on the affection of the 
children for their own purposes, which may be described as a 
mean and underhand attempt to make the little ones learn to 
prefer good to evil. At this club there was singing every 
night, there was dancing with one another, there was read- 
ing, there was talking; everybody behaved nicely, and for 
two or three hours it was a restful time, even though young 
girls do not feel the need of rest or understand its use. 

When the club closed, the girls went away. If it was a 
fine night and not too cold they went back for a while to 
Brook Street, where there was neither rest nor quiet nor 
godly talk. 


Besides her evenings, the girl had the four bank-holidays, 
and the holidays of Christmas and Easter. Nobody in Lon- 
don does any work between Thursday in Passion Week and 
Easter Tuesday, nor does any one work much between Christ- 
mas eve, when that falls on Thursday or Friday, and the 
following Tuesday. 

These days and seasons are not only holidays, they are 
days reserved for weddings and christenings. It is neces- 
sary, of course, that a girl who respects herself should make 
a creditable appearance at such a time. She must therefore 
save, and save with zeal. Saving up for bank-holiday be- 
comes a passion. Dinner is reduced to the lowest possible 
dimensions, even to a halfpenny lump of currant pudding, 
which is as heavy as lead and the most satisfying thing for 
the money that can be procured. 

Bank-holiday demands a complete change of clothes, from 
the hat to the boots. Everything must be new. There must 
not be an old frock with a new hat, nor an old pair of boots 
with a new frock. This means a great deal of saving. It 
must also be accompanied by a general cleaning up of the 
windows, the door-steps, the stairs, the rooms. All over Lon- 
don Street before bank-holiday there is unusual movement. 
Chairs are brought out, and girls stand upon them to clean 
the ground-floor windows. 

I have already spoken of the change that has come over this 
quarter. Formerly a holiday was celebrated after the man- 
ner of the ancient Danes, by long and barbaric drinking bouts. 
Early in the morning girls would be seen lying helpless on 
the pavement. Lads ran about carrying bottles of gin, which 
they offered to every one. These are customs of the past, 
though complete soberness is not yet quite achieved. 

Still, however, the Ratcliffe girl likes to keep her bank- 
holiday at home among her own people, in her beloved Brook 
Street. She cheerfully saves up all she can, so that there 
may be a good sum for bank-holiday, enough for new clothes 


and something over, something to treat her friends with. 
And when the day is over she must go back to her work 
with an empty purse. Well for her if it is not also with an 
aching head. 

When Liz was approaching the age of seventeen she had 
learned, from every point of view, all that she would ever 
learn; she had risen as high as she could rise in the fac- 
tory; she made as good wages as she would ever make; 
she lived at home, sharing a room with two sisters; she 
paid her mother sixpence a week for bed and lodging; her 
character was formed; her acquaintance with good and evil 
was deep, wide, and intimate; she was steady, as girls of 
her class go, thanks to those ladifes; if she ever drank too 
much she was ashamed of herself, and as yet she had no 
sweetheart. She was affectionate and responded to kindness, 
but she was self-willed, and would bear no thwarting. She 
was deficient on the side of imagination. She could not enter 
into the thoughts or the position of any one except herself; 
that was the natural result of her narrow, groove-like life. 
She had rules of conduct and of behavior; of religion she 
had little, if any, discoverable. She never went to church 
or chapel. She was fond of every kind of excitement, yet 
the emotional side of religion touched her not. The Irish 
girls, of whom there are many at Ratcliflfe, were Catholics, 
and sometimes went to church. Once Liz went there, too, 
and seemed to like the music and the lights, but she did not 
repeat her visit. 

This was her life all through the week. On Sunday, how- 
ever, she made a difference. 

On that morning she lay in bed till ten or eleven. She 
spent the time before dinner over her wardrobe ; at one o'clock 
she sat down with the family to the most important cere- 
mony of the week, the Sunday dinner. To other people be- 
sides the working-folk of Ratcliffe the Sunday dinner is 
an institution. Pope's retired citizen, on Sundays, had, we 


know, two puddings to smoke upon the board. To all people 
of the middle class the Sunday dinner is the occasion for a 
little indulgence, for a glass of wine after dinner. To the 
resident in Ratcliffe it means a big feed, as much as a man 
can eat, and that of a popular and favorite dish. There are 
many dishes dear to the heart of the working-man. He loves 
everything that is confected with, or accompanied by, things 
of strong taste. If he knew of the delicacy called lobscouse 
he would have it nearly every Sunday; if he knew of that 
other delicacy called potato-pot he would order it frequently. 
As it is, he relies for the most part upon some portion of 
pig — that creature of "fine miscellaneous feeding." He 
loves roast pork, boiled pork, fried pork, baked pork, but 
especially he loves pig's head. His wife buys this portion 
of the animal, stuffs the ears and eyes thereof with sage and 
onions, — a great deal of sage and much onion, — and sends 
it to the bakehouse. Pig's head thus treated and done to a 
turn is said to have no fellow. It is accompanied by beer, 
and beer in plenty. The family sit down to this meal when 
it is brought in from the baker, and continue eating until 
they can tat no longer. So, in Arabian deserts, if you would 
win the hearts of the Bedouin you give them a sheep, and 
they will eat until they can eat no longer. It is part of 
the Sunday dinner that there is to be no hint or suspicion 
of any limit, except that imposed by nature. They eat till 
they can eat no more. 

When she was seventeen Liz found a sweetheart. 

He was a young fellow of twenty or thereabouts. He 
had come out of his native village, some place in the quiet 
country, a dull place, to enjoy the life of London. He was 
a highly skilled agricultural laborer; there was nothing on 
the farm that he could not do. He knew the fields and the 
woods, the wild creatures and the birds; he knew how to 
plow and to reap; he could keep an allotment full of vege- 
tables all the year round ; he understood a stable and a dairy. 



a paddock and sheepfold. Yet with all this knowledge he 
came to London, where it was of no earthly use to him. 
He threw over the best work that a country lad can have, 
and he became nothing but a pair of hands like this girl's 
father. He was a pair of hands ; he was a strong back ; his 
sturdy legs were fit to do the commonest, the heaviest, the 
most weary work in the world. One evening Liz was stand- 
ing alone on the pavement, looking at something or other — 
a barrel-organ, a cheap Jack, one of the common sights and 
sounds — when this young fellow passed along, walking heav- 
ily, as one who has walked chiefly over plowed fields. He 
looked at her. Something in her face, — it was an honest 
face, — something in her attitude of alertness and the sharp 
look of her eye struck his imagination. He hitched closer. 
In Brook Street it is permissible, it is laudable, to intro- 
duce yourself. He said huskily : "I Ve seen you here before. 
What 's your name? Mine is George." 

That was the beginning of it. Presently the other girls 
met Liz walking proudly along Brook Street with a big, well- 
set-up young fellow. They moved out of her way. Liz had 
got a chap. When would their turn come ? 

Next night they met again. On Sunday she walked with 
him along the Mile End Road without her apron and in her 
best hat. It was a parade and proclamation of an engage- 
ment. She told her mother, who was glad. "A man," she 
said, "is a better friend than a woman. He sticks." Liz 
did not tell the ladies of the club, but the other girls did, and 
the ladies looked grave and spoke seriously to her about 

George did stick to her. He was an honest lad; he had 
chosen his sweetheart, and he stuck to her. When he had 
money he gave her treats. He took her by train to Epping 
Forest, to North Woolwich Gardens, to the theater, to the 
music-hall. In his way he loved the girl. She would not 
leave the club, but she gave him part of every evening. He 



talked to her about the country life he had left behind him. 
He told her the stories about poachers which belong to every 
village ale-house. It pleased him to recall the past he had 
thrown away. All day long he carried heavy bales and boxes 
and burdens backward and forward. It was monotonous 

work, cheered only by the striking of the hours and the 
thought of the coming evening. The poor lad's day was 
hallowed by his evening walk. 

Six months later Liz was married. It was on the August 
bank-holiday. The wedding took place at St. James's 
Church, Ratcliffe. It was celebrated in a style which did 
honor to the quarter. The bride was dressed in heliotrope 
satin. She wore a large hat of purple plush. The brides- 
maids were brilliantly attired in frocks of velveteen, green 
and crimson and blue. They too wore hats of plush. After 


the ceremony they adjourned to the residence of the bride, 
where a great feast was spread. The rejoicing lasted all 
day and all night When the young couple began their 
wedded life it was with an empty purse and a week of bor- 
rowed food. I hope that George will not get drunk, will 
not knock his wife down, and will not take the strap to her. 
If he does, we must comfort ourselves with the thought that 
to Liz it will be no new thing, hitherto unknown in the land, 
not an unnatural thing when the drink is in a man, and, 
unless repeated in soberness, a trifle to be endured and for- 
gotten and forgiven, even seventy times seven. 

Here we must leave our girl. She is now a wife. For a 
little while she will go on at the factory ; then she will stay 
at home. London Street will be enriched by half a dozen 
children all her own. Like their mother, these children will 
play in the dust and the mud ; like her, they will go to school 
and be happy; like her, they will go to work in the fac- 
tory. Liz will be repeated in her children. As long as she 
lives she will know and enjoy the same life, with the same 
pleasures, the same anxieties, the same luck. She will "do" 
for her girls when they grow up. Now and then she will 
be taken on as a casual at the old factory. London Street 
will always be her whole world; she will have no interests 
outside, and when she dies it will be only the vanishing of 
one out of the multitudes which seem, as I said at the be- 
ginning, to be all alike, all living the same life, all enduring, 
hoping, loving, suffering, sinning, giving, helping, condol- 
ing, mourning, in the same kindly, cruel, beneficent, merci- 
less, contradictory, womanly fashion that makes up the life 
of London Street. 





DURING our walk along the riverside we passed here and 
there small groups of men, either two and three together 
or in companies of ten or a dozen. They were "hanging 
around," hands in pockets, an empty pipe between their lips, 
with a slouching, apathetic air; in every case a public house 
was within very easy reach; in most cases the public house 
afforded them door-posts and walls against which to lean. 
They were observed in large numbers around the dock-gates 
and in long lines leaning against the dock- walls. There 
was no alertness or activity in the look or the carriage of 
any of these men ; on the other hand, there was no dejection 
or unhappiness. Had we stopped to ask any of them what 
they were doing they would have assumed for the moment an 
imitation of readiness indicated by a slight stiffening of the 
knee-joints, the withdrawal of the hands from the pocket, 
and the attitude of attention by which they gave the inquirer 
to understand that they were waiting for a job. 

This is their trade — waiting for a job; it appears to be a 
trade which takes the spirit out of a man, which makes him 
limp, which makes him unwilling to undertake that job when 
it arrives, which tempts him to look for any other way of 
getting food than the execution of that job, which narrows 
his views of life so that the haven where he would be is 
nothing but the bar of the public house, and the only joy he 



desires is the joy of endeavoring to alleviate a thirst that 
nothing can assuage. 

This manner of life can hardly be reckoned among the 
more noble. It demands no skill and no training. What 
they mean by a job is the fetching or carrying something, 
either in the way of transferring cargo from ship to quay 
or carrying something from one house to another. If it is 
the former, if one of these fellows gets taken on at the docks, 
he enters with a sigh; his work is not worth a fourth part 
of that done by one of the regular staff, and as soon as he 
has earned enough for the day's wants he retires, he goes 
back to his street corner and his public house, he once more 
seizes on the momentary rapture of a drink, and he rejoins 
his limp companions. 

I have considered the daily life of the factory girl. Let 
me now consider that of the casual hand, almost as important 
an element on the riverside as the girl. 

In most cases he is a native of the place; he was born on 
the riverside; he has been brought up on the riverside; he 
was born and brought up conveniently near the public house, 
beside which he wastes the leaden hours of his dreary life. 
A country lad cannot easily become a creature so weak and 
limp ; the father of the casual hand was himself in the same 
profession, his mother was a factory girl like her of whom 
we have been speaking. 

This man — ^he never seems to be more than five-and-thirty, 
or less than thirty — is one of the very few survivors of a 
numerous family; the riverside families are very large if 
you count the graves, for the mortality of the young fills 
the graveyards very rapidly; most of this man's brothers 
and sisters are dead — one can hardly, looking at the man 
himself and his surroundings, say that they are "gone be- 
fore" ; it is best to say only that they are gone, we know not 
whither. He himself has been so unfortunate, if we may 
put the case plainly, as to escape the many perils of infancy 


and childhood. He has not been "overlaid" as a baby, nor 
run over as a child, nor carried off with diphtheria, scarla- 
tina, croup, or any other of the disorders which continually 
hover about these streets, nor has he been the victim of bad 
nourishment and food which was unsuited to him. He has 
become immune against contagion and infection; wet feet 
and cold and exposure have been unable to kill him; the 
close and fetid air of the one-family living room has carried 
off his brothers and sisters, but has not been able to strike 
him down; he is like a soldier who has come unscathed 
through a dozen battles and a malarious campaign. Surely, 
therefore, this man ought to be a splendid specimen of hu- 
manity, strong and upright. The contrary is the case, how- 
ever. You observe that he is by no means the kind of 
Briton we should like to exhibit ; he hath a sallow complexion, 
his shoulders are sloping and narrow, his chest is hollow, his 
walk is shambling, he has no spring in his feet, his hands 
betray by their clumsiness his ignorance of any craft, he is 
flat-footed, his eye lacks intelligence, he is low-browed, the 
intellectual side of him has not been cultivated or even 
touched; if you talked with him you would find that he has 
few ideas, that his command of language is imperfect, and 
that he is practically inarticulate. The best thing that could 
happen to such a man would be compulsory farm work, but 
no farmer would have him on any terms, and he himself 
would refuse such work; he means to go on as he always 
goes on, to wait outside the public house for the casual job. 
As a child and as a boy he was made to attend school — 
indeed, he liked nothing better than the hours of school. 
His mother, who found that in order to send the children 
off clean and tidy to school she had herself to get up early, 
and, besides, had to assume for herself some outward ap- 
pearance of cleanliness, threw every possible obstacle in the 
way of school attendance. But she was firmly overruled by 
the school-board visitor and by the magistrate. Therefore 


she abandoned opposition and acquiesced, though with sad- 
ness too deep for words, in the inevitable. 

The boy remained at school until his fourteenth year, 
when he was allowed to leave, on passing the fourth standard. 
If you ask what he had learned one might refer you to any 
of the "readers'* used in London Board-schools, but prob- 
ably these interesting and valuable works are not within easy 
reach. It must suffice, therefore, to explain, as in the case 
of Liz, that the elementary school readers, as a rule, con- 
tain selections, snippets, and scraps of knowledge, and that 
if a boy who passed the fourth standard remembered them 
all, from the first to the fourth inclusive, they would carry 
him a very little way indeed toward the right understanding 
of the round world and all that is therein. 

Now comes the question. What good will the boy's educa- 
tion be to him in the life that lies before him? Truly, in 
the case of the casual hand, little or none. For, you see, 
although, apart from the encyclopedic snippets and the scraps, 
the boy has learned to read and to write, he never needs the 
latter accomplishment at all, and, as regards the former, he 
has no books; his father had no books, his friends have no 
books. But all the world read newspapers. Not all the 
world; there is a considerable section, including the casual 
hand and certain others whom we shall meet immediately, 
who never read the papers. This boy is not going to read 
the papers; his father never did, his friends never do, he 
will not. Why should he ? The papers contain nothing that 
is of the least importance to him; they are apparently in a 
conspiracy to make it impossible for such as himself to drink 
unless they work. He speedily forgets his scraps of infor- 
mation, and he gets no more from the usual sources. 

You must not, however, imagine that he never learns any- 
thing. It is impossible for any boy to grow up in a crowded 
street in complete ig^norance. Something he must learn; 
some views of life he must be forced to frame, though un- 


consciously. He will grow up in ignorance of the things 
which form actual life in other circles, but it is with a riv- 
erside lad as with a village lad. The latter, brought up in 
the country, acquires insensibly a vast mass of information 
and knowledge about the things of the country — ^the fields, 
the hedges, the woods, the birds, the creatures — ^without book, 
without school, without master; so the riverside lad, by run- 
ning about on the Stairs and the foreshore, acquires a vast 
mass of information about the port and the river and the ships 
and the ways of those who go down to the deep. He knows 
the tides, he knows the jetsam and the flotsam of the tides, he 
trudges and wades in the mud of the foreshore to pick up 
what the tide leaves for him; he knows all the ships, where 
they come from, whither they are bound, the g^reat liner 
which puts in at the West India docks, the packet boats, the 
coasters, the colliers, the Norwegian timber ships, he knows 
them all ; he knows their rig, he knows their names and when 
to expect them — the river and all that floats upon it are 
known to him as a book is known to the student. Were it 
not for the work, the physical activity, the discipline, the 
obedience, expected of the man before the mast, he would 
be a sailor. Concerning the imports and the exports of 
London he knows more than any oflicial of the Board of 
Trade — ^that is to say, figfures concern him not, but he knows 
the bales and the casks and the crates and the boxes: are 
not his friends engaged every day in discharging cargo and 
taking it in ? All this, you will acknowledge, means a good, 
solid lump of knowledge which may occupy his brain and 
give him materials for thought and conversation — if he ever 
did think, which is doubtful, and if he could converse, which 
is not at all doubtful. 

There is another kind of knowledge which the riverside 
lad picks up. It is the knowledge of the various ways, 
means, tricks, craft, and cunning by which many of his 
friends and contemporaries get through life without doing 


any work. It is with him as with men in other lines; he 
knows how things are done, but he cannot do, them himself; 
he lacks courage, he lacks the necessary manner, he lacks 
the necessary quickness; he would be a rogue if he could; 
he admires successful roguery, but he is unable to imitate 
or to copy or to practise roguery. Not everyone can defy 
the law even for a brief spell between the weary periods of 

From picking up trifles unguarded and unwatched on the 
shore to doing the same thing in the streets is but a step. 
There are plenty of these lads who learn quite early to prey 
upon the petty trader. I have been told by one of his vic- 
tims how to watch for and to observe the youthful prow- 
ler. You place yourself in one of the busy streets lined 
with shops in some position, perhaps at a shop-door, where 
you may observe without being suspected; it is like Jefferies' 
rule for observing the wild creatures; assume an attitude 
of immobility; the people pass up and down, all occupied 
with their own affairs, unobservant; presently comes along 
a boy, long-armed, long-legged ; his step is silent and slouch- 
ing, his eyes beneath the peak of his cap glance furtively 
round; the stall is unprotected; the goods exposed for sale 
are only guarded by a child, who is looking the other way; 
then, in a moment, the hand darts out, snatches something, 
and the lad with the long and slouching step goes on with- 
out the least change in his manner, unsuspected. He is ready 
to pick up anything — a loaf from the baker, an apple from 
the coster's cart, an onion from the green-grocer; nothing 
comes amiss. And he does it for the honor and the glory of 
it and the joy in the danger. He is not going to become an 
habitual criminal, not at all; that career requires serious 
work; he is going to become a casual hand, and he will 
remember pleasantly in his manhood the cunning and the 
sleight-of-hand with which as a boy he knew how to lift 
things from shop and stall and barrow. 


I have spoken of the unguarded things upon the foreshore 
at low tide. There are still lingering by the riverside sur- 
vivals of the good old days when the whole people lived in 
luxury on the robberies they committed from the ships load- 
ing and unloading in the river. There are barges which go 
up and down with the tide. At ebb tide they lie in the mud ; 
the men in charge go ashore to drink ; the boys then climb on 
board in search of what they can get. If the barge is laden 
with sugar they cut holes in the bags and fill their pockets, 
their hats, their boots, their handkerchiefs with the stuff, 
which they carry ashore and sell. They get a halfpenny a 
pound for their plunder. If the barge is laden with coals they 
carry off all that their clothes will hold ; one goes before to 
warn the rest of danger ; plenty of houses on the way are open 
to them; it is a comparatively safe and certainly a pleasant 
way of earning a penny or two. It is also a way which 
brings with it its own punishment. For the great and ever 
present temptation with the riverside lad is to shirk work; 
a physical shrinking from hard work is his inheritance ; every 
way by which he can be relieved from work strengthens this 
physical shrinking; not at one step, not suddenly, does a 
young man find work impossible for him; the casual hand 
grows slowly more casual ; the waiter on fortune's jobs grows 
steadily more inclined to wait; he finds himself tied to the 
lamp-post opposite the public house; chains bind him to the 
doors ; within is his shrine, his temple, his praying place, his 
idol ; he keeps his hands in his pockets while he keeps his eyes 
on the swinging door and suffers his mind to dwell all day 
long on the fragrance of the beery bar. 

Every year there are thousands of boys who leave the 
London Board-schools, their "education" completed, with no 
chance of an apprenticeship to any trade, their hands abso- 
lutely untrained, just a hanging pair of hands, prehensile, 
like the monkey's tail. It is indeed lucky that they are pre- 
hensile, otherwise what would be the lot of their owners? 


They leave school ; they have to face the necessity of mak- 
ing a livelihood for themselves, of earning their daily bread, 
perhaps for sixty long years to come, without knowing any 
single one of the many arts and crafts by which men live 
and provide for their families and themselves. At the out- 
set it appears to be a hopeless task. Of course, it is the 
greatest possible misfortune for a lad to learn no trade. 
If we consider the waste of intellectual power alone, where 
there is no training to skilled labor, it must be acknowledged 
to be the greatest misfortune that can befall a boy at the 
outset. Still, all is not lost. For a steady lad, willing to 
work, this misfortune may be partly overcome. There are 
many openings for such a boy. Let us consider, for in- 
stance, what lines of work he may attempt, keeping only to 
those which require no previous training and no skill. 

He hears of these openings from other boys ; he has heard 
of such openings all his life. For instance, he would very 
much like to enter the service of the City of London, as 
one of the boys whose business it is to keep the streets 
clean. You may see these boys, in a red uniform, running 
about among the horses and omnibuses in Cheapside; they 
are always under the horses' feet, but they never get run over ; 
they are active and smart lads; they seem to take a pride in 
doing their humble work rapidly and thoroughly. They re- 
ceive very good pay, which helps to keep up their spirits — 
6s. 6d. a week, rising to 9^. or los. Even better than this 
is the railway service, where a smart lad may very soon get 
gs. a week. He may then rise to the position of a railway 
porter. Now, at the great London stations, in which the 
trains are coming in and going out all day long, and every 
passenger with luggage is good for a tip of threepence or 
sixpence, no one knows what the weekly earnings of a rail- 
way porter may be. Things are whispered ; nothing is known 
for certain; the position, however, is recognized as one of 
the prizes in the profession of the unskilled hand. 


Then there are the factories — ^matches, jam, all kinds of 
factories — into which, if a boy is fortunate enough to be 
taken, he may make at the outset 5^. or 6s, a week. It is, 
however, generally felt that there is a lack of interest about 
factory work. A much more enviable occupation is that of 
a van boy, whose very simple duty is to sit behind among 
the boxes and parcels, in order to take care that none of them 
are stolen and that none drop off into the street. One is ex- 
pected to assist in loading and unloading, which means some- 
what heavy work, but the greater part of the day is spent 
in being pleasantly carried up and down the streets of Lon- 
don and enjoying a moving panorama of the town in all its 
quarters. There are great possibilities for the van boy; if 
he is ambitious he may hope to become, in course of time, 
even driver of the van, a post of real distinction and respon- 
sibility, with "good money," although the hours may be long. 

Some boys, without taking thought for the future, jump 
at the post of beer boy to a barge. It is attractive, it is 
light work, it is well paid, but it leads to nothing. One 
would not recommend any young friend to accept this post. 
Generally a barge is loaded and unloaded by one or two 
gangs of men, seven in a gang. Each of these men pays the 
beer boy twopence a day, so that if there are two gangs to 
the barge he will make 2s. 4d. a day, or 14^. a week, his 
simple duty being to carry beer to the men at work from the 
nearest public house. The work seems easy, but it requires 
activity; the gangs are thirsty, tempers are quick, and cuffs 
are frequent. 

This kind of errand situation is very easy to get ; in every 
trade an errand boy is wanted. I am surprised that no one 
has magnified the post and preached upon the necessity, for 
the conduct of the internal trade of the country, of the errand 
boy. As yet he has not found his prophet. Thus a green- 
grocer is lost without his errand boys; a suburban green- 
grocer in a flourishing way of business will have twenty boys 


in his employ; every small draper, every shopkeeper, in fact, 
small or great, must have his errand boy — but this is a post 
reserved for older lads. Some one must carry round the 
things; it is the boy who has learned no trade; the carriage 
of the basket is the first use to which he puts his unskilled 
hands. I believe that five shillings a week is the recognized 
pay for the situation. In one way or another, however, the 
boy finds some kind of place and begins to earn a living. 

As a rule, these boys live well. For breakfast they have 
bread and butter and tea, with a "relish," such as an egg 
or a piece of bacon; at twelve they take their dinner at 
one of the humbler coflFee-houses which abound in the 
streets of East London ; it consists of more bread and butter 
and tea, with half a steak and potatoes. For tea they go to 
another coflFee-house ; they can get two thick slices of bread 
for a halfpenny each; butter or jam costs another halfpenny; 
a cup of coffee costs a halfpenny, or a whole pint may be 
had for a penny. In the evening their favorite supper is 
the dish familiarly known as "ha'porth and ha'porth" — that 
is, fish and potatoes at a halfpenny each. So far their life 
is healthy, with plenty of work and plenty of food, and, in 
most cases, strong drink is neither desired nor taken. The 
craving for drink comes later. The dangerous time of life 
is the age when the boy passes into manhood. Then the 
simple meals at the coffee-house no longer suffice. Then it 
becomes necessary to have beer, and beer in ever-increasing 
quantities. Then the boy grows out of his work ; hlSfeecomes 
too big to carry beer for the bargees or to go round with the 
newspapers, or to sit at the back of the van, or to carry 
about cabbages in a basket. 

What is he to do next ? 

There are, even for a grown man, many situations which 
demand no training and no apprenticeship. In all the ware- 
houses, in the great shops, in offices of every kind, there are 
wanted men to fetch and carry, to load and unload, to pack 

East London Loafers, 



and unpack. In the docks there are wanted troops of men 
to load and to unload. In the markets and on the railways 
there are wanted men to carry and to set out the goods. In 
every kind of business servants must be had to do that part 
of the work which requires no skill. Unfortunately the 
supply is greater than the demand. There are many lads 
who get into the service of companies, railways, or facto- 
ries, and remain in steady work all their working lives in 
the same emplo)anent. There are, on the other hand, a 
great number who have to hang about on the outskirts of 
regular work, who are taken on in times of pressure and 
find it difficult to get work when times are slack; these 
are the men who become the casual hands; these are the 
men who hang about the dock-gates and loaf round street 

The process of degeneration by which the promising lad 
sinks into the casual hand is easy to follow. 

The work, whatever it may be, is finished at half-past six 
or seven. The lads have, therefore, like the factory girl 
already considered, four or five solid hours every evening 
to get through. The other day I was looking through some 
statistics of work in the eighteenth century. It then began 
at six, sometimes at half-past five; it left off at eight in 
the evening, with the exception of those trades which could 
not be carried on by the light of tallow candles. The peo- 
ple went to bed before ten. The time for supper, rest, and 
recreation was therefore reduced to two hours. There was 
no Saturday afternoon holiday. All through the pre-Refor- 
mation time there had been a Saturday half-holiday, because 
Saturday was reckoned as the eve of a saint's day, and every 
eve of an important saint's day was a half-holiday. The 
Reformation swept away this grateful respite from work. 
Therefore, except for Sunday, the craftsman's working-day 
was practically the whole day long. 

We have changed these long for shorter hours ; the people 


have now a long evening to themselves and the Saturday 
half-holiday, as well as Sunday. 

Consider what this means to a lad of sixteen, one of the 
riverside lads. He has, we have seen, no books and no desire 
for reading; a free library offers no attractions to him; he 
has no study or pursuit of any kind; he does not wish to 
learn anything; and he has four hours, perhaps five, to get 
through every evening, except Saturday, when he has nine 
hours, and Sunday, when he has the whole day — ^say sixteen 
hours. In every week he has actually forty-five long hours 
in which to amuse himself as best he can. What is that 
boy to do? He must do something which brings with it 
excitement and activity; his blood is restless; he knows not 
what he wants ; it is an age which has its ideals, and his are 
of the heroic kind, but too often of a perverted heroism. 

A few of them, but in proportion very few indeed, belong 
to the boys' clubs which are scattered about East London. 
They are the fortunate boys; they contract friendships with 
the young men — gentlemen always — who run the club ; they 
can learn all kinds of things if they like ; they work off their 
restlessness and get rid of the devil in the gymnasium with 
the boxing-gloves and with the single stick; they contract 
habits of order and discipline; they become infected with 
some of the upper-class ideals, especially as regards honor 
and honesty, purity and temperance; the fruits of the time 
spent in the club are seen in their after life ; these are the lads 
who lead the steady lives and become the supporters of order 
and authority. A few again, but very few, get the chance 
of polytechnic classes and continuation schools, but these 
things are mostly above the riverside folk. Here and there 
a class is formed and taught by ladies in one or other of the 
minor arts, such as wood-carving, in which the lads quickly 
take great delight. 

Setting aside these, what becomes of all the rest? 

They have the music-hall; there are half a dozen music- 


halls in which the gallery is cheap; they go to one of these 
places two or three times a week in winter ; they have the pub- 
lic house, but these lads are not, as a rule, slaves to drink so 
early in life; their own lodgings are not inviting either for 
comfort or for rest or for society. They have, however, the 

It is the street which provides the casual hand; it is also 
the street which produces the drunkard, the loafer, the man 
who cannot work, the man who will not work, the street 
rough, the street sneak, and the street thief. The long even- 
ing spent in the street nourishes and encourages these and 
such as these of both sexes. 

It is of course the old story — ^the abuse of liberty. We 
shorten the hours of work, and we offer nothing in the place 
of work, except the street; we leave the lads, whom we 
thought to benefit, to their own devices, and to discover, if 
they can, the way to turn the hours thus rescued from 
drudgery into a means of climbing to a higher life. We 
leave them, even, in complete ignorance as to any higher 
life at all. Their own idea of employing their idle time is 
to do nothing, to amuse themselves, and, as the street is the 
only place where they can find amusement for nothing, they 
go into the street. 

They begin by walking about in little companies of two 
and three ; by way of asserting their early manhood the boys 
smoke cheap cig^arettes, called, I believe, "fags" ; also, by way 
of asserting their own importance — ^no one knows the con- 
ceit and vanity of lads of fifteen and sixteen, the age between 
the boy and the man — ^they occupy a great deal of the pave- 
ment, they hustle each other, regardless of other people ; they 
get up impromptu fights and sham fights ; they wrestle ; they 
make rushes among the crowd ; they push about the girls of 
their own age, who are by no means backward in appreciat- 
ing and returning these delicate attentions ; they whistle and 
sing, and practise the calls of the day and the locality. A 


very favorite amusement, in which they are joined and as- 
sisted by the girls, is to get up a little acting in dumb show ; 
some of them are excellent mimics. I have, for instance, 
read more than once in the columns of temperance organs or 
the letters of philanthropists, tearful or indignant, most mel- 
ancholy accounts of precocious drunkenness among the boys 
and girls of East London — that poor East London ! "I have 
seen," writes the visitor to Ratcliffe and Shadwell, "with 
my own eyes, boys and girls, quite young boys and girls, 
reeling about drunk, — ^actually drunk, hopelessly drunk, — the 
girls, poor creatures, worse than the boys. I spoke to one. 
She was no more than thirteen or so — a pretty child, but 
helplessly intoxicated. When I spoke to her she tried to 
reply, but became inarticulate ; she gasped, she laughed — ^the 
awful laugh of a drunkard ! She made a gesture of helpless- 
ness, she fell sideways on the pavement, and would not rise. 
Her companions, as far gone as herself, only laughed. A sad 
sight, truly, in a civilized country !*' 

A very sad sight, indeed! This observer, however, did 
not understand that the personation of drunken people is 
one of the favorite amusements of the boys and girls in the 
evening streets. They have every day opportunities of 
studying their subject. A life school exists in every street, 
and is thrown open every night, and the fidelity with which 
every stage of drunkenness is represented by these young 
actors would be remarkable even on the boards of Drury 
Lane. Had the indignant writer of that letter known so 
simple a fact his pity and his wrath would have been reserved 
for a more worthy object. 

Acting and running and shouting are amusing as far as 
they go, but they are not enough. The blood is very rest- 
less at seventeen; it wants exercise in reality. This restless- 
ness is the cause of the certain street companies of which 
the London papers have recently spoken with indignation. 
They are organized originally for local fights. The boys 


of Cable Street constitute themselves, without asking the 
permission of the War Office, into a small regiment; they 
arm themselves with clubs, with iron bars, with leather belts 
to which buckles belong, with knotted handkerchiefs con- 
taining stones — 3. lethal weapon — ^with sling and stones, with 
knives even, with revolvers of the "toy" kind, and they go 
forth to fight the lads of Brook Street. It is a real fight; 
the field is presently strewn with the wounded; the police 
have trouble in putting a stop to the combat; with broken 
heads, black eyes, and bandaged arms, the leaders appear 
next day before the magistrate. 

The local regiment cannot always be meeting its army on 
the field of glory; the next step, therefore, to hustling the 
people in the street is natural. The boys gather together and 
hold the street; if any one ventures to pass through it they 
rush upon him, knock him down, and kick him savagely about 
the head ; they rob him as well. In the autumn of last year 
(1899) an inoffensive elderly gentleman was knocked down 
by such a gang, robbed, kicked about the head, and taken 
up insensible; he was carried home, and died the next day. 
These gangs are the modern Mohocks ; South London is more 
frequently favored with their achievements than the quarter 
with which we are here concerned; they are difficult to deal 
with because they meet, fight, and disperse with such rapid- 
ity that it is next to impossible to get hold of them. It is 
an ugly feature of the time; it is mainly due to the causes I 
have pointed out, and it will probably disappear before long. 
Meantime, the boys regard the holding of the street with 
pride; their captain is a hero, as much as the captain of the 
Eleven at a public school. 

Sometimes they devise other modes of achieving great- 
ness. A year or two ago half a dozen of them thought that 
it would be a good thing if they were to attend Epsom races 
on the Derby Day, the great race of the year. One can go 
to Epsom by road or rail; the latter is the cheaper and the 


easier way, but the more glorious way is to go by road, as 
the swells go. They hire a carriage and pair, and get a 
luncheon hamper from Fortnum and Mason's, and pay for a 
stand on the hill — ^the thing can be done for about £25. 
These boys thought to emulate the swells ; they would drive 
to Epsom. They therefore helped themselves to a baker's 
horse and light cart, and, all in the gray of the morning, 
drove the whole way in the greatest glory to the race-course. 
Arrived there they sold the horse and cart to a Gipsy for 
three pounds, and spent the day in watching the races, in 
betting on the events, and in feasting. When the glorious 
day was over and their money all gone they found an out- 
house near the common, and there lay down to sleep, intend- 
ing to walk home in the morning. Now, the baker, on dis- 
covering his loss, had gone to the police, and the police, 
remembering the day and suspecting the truth, for the lads' 
thirst for sport was well known, telegraphed to Epsom; the 
horse and cart were recovered, and in the middle of the night 
the boys themselves were found. They did return to town 
in the morning, but not as they left. It was in the roomy 
vehicle commonly called "Black Maria" that they were taken 
to the police court, and from the court to the Reformatory, 
where they still languish. 

The boys are gjeat gamblers. As gambling and betting 
are strictly forbidden in the streets, they have to find places 
where they can play undisturbed. Sunday is the day devoted 
to gambling. The boys get on board a barge, where they 
sit in the hold and play cards — locally called "darbs" — all 
day long; sometimes they find an empty house, sometimes 
a room in a condemned row of crazy tenements. The favor- 
ite game, the name of which I do not know, is one in which 
the dealer holds the bank; he deals a card to every player 
and one to himself. Each player covers his card with a 
stake, generally a penny ; the cards are turned up ; the players 
pay the dealer for cards below, and are paid for cards above 

Sunday Gambling. 


the dealer's card. It is quite a simple game, and one in 
which a boy may lose his Saturday wages in a very short 
time. They also play "heads and tails," and they are said 
to bet freely among each other. 

At this period of their career some of them begin to read 
a good deal. Not the newspapers, not any books ; their read- 
ing is confined to the penny novelette; for them Jack Hark- 
away performs incredible feats of valor; it is not for them 
that the maiden of low degree is wedded by the belted earl — 
that is for the gfirls; for these lads, to whom a fight is the 
finest thing in the world, the renowned Jack Harkaway 
knocks down the wicked captain on the quarter-deck, rescues 
a whole ship's company from pirates, performs prodigies at 
Omdurman. His feats are described in the amazing sheets 
which he calls "ha'penny bloods" or "penny dreadfuls." If 
the boys buy a paper it is one of like mind, such as are writ- 
ten and printed especially and exclusively for him. 

They go often, I have said, to the music-hall; there are 
three or four in their own quarter — ^the Paragon, Mile End 
Road ; the Foresters, Cambridge Road ; and the Queen's, Pop- 
lar. But they go farther afield, and may be found in the 
galleries of even West-End music-halls to see a popular 
"turn." As for concerts and lectures and entertainments 
given at the Town Hall or other places, they will not go to 
them. There is too much "class." 

At this time, namely, at sixteen or seventeen, the boys 
commonly take a swe/tHeart; they "keep company" with a 
girl ; night after night they walk the streets together ; what 
they talk about no one knows, what vows of constancy they 
exchange no man hath ever heard or can divine; they take 
each other, the boy paying when he can, to the music-hall or 
to the theater; they stand drinks — it is at this period that 
the fatal yearning for drink begins to fasten itself upon the 
lad. The "keeping company" is perhaps a worse evil than 
the growing thirst for drink ; it ends, invariably, in the early 


marriage, which is one of the most deplorable features in 
the lower life; the young girl of sixteen or seventeen, igno- 
rant of everything, enters upon the married life, and for the 
rest of her days endures all the wretchedness of grinding 
poverty, children half-nourished and in rags, a drunken hus- 
band and a drunken self. The boys' clubs, the girls' clubs, 
the settlements, of which I shall speak again presently, do 
all in their power to occupy the young people's minds with 
other things; but the club closes at ten, and the street re- 
mains open all night. 

None of these street boys and girls — or very few, as I 
have said already — ^are country-born; the country lads come 
up to London Town, to the city paved with gold, in thousands, 
but they are older than these children of the street; they 
have not learned the fascination which the street exercises 
upon those who have always lived in it and always played 
in it. 

Their martial tastes should make them enlist, but the dis- 
cipline forbids enlistment. Many of them, however, belong 
to the Tower Hamlets Militia, a regiment called out for 
drill for six weeks every year. They enjoy sporting the 
uniform; they like marching; they like the band and the mess 
in barracks, but they cannot endure the discipline for more 
than six weeks, even in return for the grandeur and the 
glory of the thing. 

What, then, is the connection between the casual hand 
and the lads of the street? This: the life of the street is 
an ordeal through which these lads must pass, since we 
give them no other choice; some of them emerge without 
harm; for them the craving for drink has not become a 
demoniac possession ; they have never been haled before the 
police court; they know not the interior of prison or re- 
formatory; they have not married at seventeen; these are 
the young fellows who get, and keep, permanent places with 
"good money," they are hewers of wood and drawers of 


water like the children of Gideon, yet they live not in the 
slums; their homes are in the Monotonies; theirs is a four- 
or six-roomed house, one of a row, one of a street, a flat in 
a barrack ; their houses and dwelling-places stand side by side 
miles around. But the life that is led in these streets is 
not monotonous, because every man has his own life and 
his own experience, his birth and childhood, his manhood 
and his age, and these can never be monotonous. 

There remain, alas ! those with whom we began, the com- 
pany of two or three who hang around the corner outside 
the public house or lean against the walls of the docks. 
They are the men whom the ordeal of the street, more than 
any other cause, has broken down. They have emerged from 
that ordeal with a confirmed habit of taking the Easy Way, 
that of no self-restraint, that which temptation indicates 
with beckoning finger and false smiles ; at nineteen they have 
lost any possible joy of work, pride in work, desire for work — 
they know not any work which can afford the workman joy 
or pride; to them the necessity for work is an ever-present 
curse which corrupts and poisons life. Were it not for this 
cruel necessity they might pass through the allotted span with 
no more effort and no more ambition than the common slug 
of the hedge. 

Alas! work must be done if they would drink; they do 
not mind being badly fed; it is wonderful to think of the 
small amount of solid food they get, but they must drink. 
In their single room they have wife and children, but they 
must drink; they hang about waiting for work, in the hope 
that no work may come, yet that food will appear ; they have 
neither honesty, nor self-respect, nor any sense of duty or 
responsibility at all. But they must drink. 

What to do for, or with, these unfortunates is the most 
difficult and the most pressing question of the slums. The 
only hope seems to be to get hold of the boys and girls and to 
spare them, if possible, the cruel ordeal of the street. 


And meantime, while we look and while we talk, lo! the 
company has melted away; the cold wind and the rain have 
fallen upon them ; drink has robbed them of their immunity ; 
the infirmary ward holds them to-day; to-morrow the pau- 
per's funeral will wind up the sum and story of their sor- 
did days. 



k . 



IONDON has always held out hands of toleration, if not 
-^ of welcome, to the alien. He has come to London from 
every part of Great Britain and Ireland, and from every 
country of Europe. Under the Plantagenets the country 
lad was as much an alien or a foreigner as the Hollander 
or the German. To country lads and the continental alike 
London was the city paved with gold. First came Saxon, 
Jute, and Angle; then came Dane; then Norman; after 
these came Fleming, French, German. The German, in- 
deed, laid hands on our foreign trade and kept it for six 
hundred years ; whenever one of our kings married a foreign 
princess the Queen's countr3mien flocked over in swarms, to 
pick up what they could. William the G^nqueror's consort 
brought over the weavers from her own country; when 
Eleanor of Provence married Henry III her people came 
with her, especially the ecclesiastics, seizing on dignities and 
benefices from the Archbishopric of Canterbury downward; 
when Queen Mary married Philip of Spain the streets of 
London were filled with Spaniards ; when Charles I married 
Henrietta of France French priests, for the first time since 
the Reformation, paraded the streets by scores, oflfending the 
Protestant conscience. Italy and the South of France sent 
usurers with the pope's license to prey upon the land. 
London was a city of refuge as well as a city where gold 



was to be picked up in the streets. Many exiles have sought 
and found protection within its walls. 

The most important of these arrivals was that of the 
French Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes. An immense number came over; in one year 
15,500 were relieved by the collection of a fund amounting 
to £63,713. A large colony of 13,500 of them settled in 
London, most of them in Spitalfields, at that time still a place 
of fields. Here they introduced the industry of silk-weaving, 
very much to the profit of the country and city of their 

The next invasion of aliens was that of the unfortunate 
Palatines, in the year 1709. The Palatinate had been de- 
vastated by the French; it was a vast battle-field plundered 
during every incursion of the enemy; in despair, the people 
abandoned their country; they flocked over to England in 
companies and troops; the immigration continued for three 
years, during which time thirteen thousand thrust themselves 
upon the mercy of the City. A collection was made for them 
amounting to £22,038. These people, who seem to have 
been agricultural rather than industrial, contributed little to 
the population of London ; three thousand of them were sent 
to Ireland; to each of the provinces of North and South 
Carolina six hundred were sent; to New York nearly four 
thousand, but seventeen hundred died on the voyage, no 
doubt enfeebled by their sufferings and privations before em- 
barking ; they seem not to have met with favor in New York ; 
many of them emigrated to Pennsylvania, where, it is said, 
their descendants still preserve the memory of their origin. 
Those who settled in London got their names Anglicized, 
so that they were entirely absorbed and lost in the general 

At the beginning of the French Revolution, when the mad- 
ness of the revolutionaries fell upon the priests and nobles, 
there was an immense flight of the persecuted classes into 


England. They did not however, as a rule, come to settle; 
as soon as circumstances permitted they returned to France; 
some, however, remained; it is not uncommon to find fami- 
lies descended from the emigres of 1792-93 who preserve the 
memory of their former nobility, though they have long since 
abandoned all intention of claiming a title which carries with 
it neither privilege nor property nor honor. 

The emigres formed during their stay small colonies in 
and about London. One of them was at St. Pancras, in 
whose churchyard many of them are buried; another was a 
little further out, five or six miles out of the City, at Hamp- 
stead — the Roman Catholic chapel built for them still re- 
mains ; there were other small settlements, and many of them 
remained in Westminster and in Soho. The hospitality of- 
fered them, the pity shown to them, the maintenance granted 
to them by our government, the cordial friendship extended 
to them by our people, were worthy of all praise. Yet it was 
remarked, with some bitterness, that when these refugees 
were enabled to return to their own country they ignored 
every obligation of gratitude, or even courtesy, and actually 
refused to admit their old friends of the English gentry to 
their salons in Paris. Partly, I believe, this apparent in- 
gratitude was due to their poverty, of which they were 

Another political invasion of refugees was that of the 
Poles after their abortive rising in the thirties; they, too, 
were received by our government with a generosity unpar- 
alleled. There were many thousands of them. They were 
granted barracks to live in and a small pension to live upon ; 
both were continued as long as they lived ; they must now all 
be dead ; some of them no doubt married here, and their chil- 
dren must now be part of the general population. A few of 
the most foolhardy ventured back again, to lead one more 
forlorn hope in another mad attempt at rebellion, and to die 
unprofitable patriots by the Russian bayonet. 


In our own time there has been — it is still going on — a 
considerable influx of Russian Polish and German Jews 
flying from the Judenhetze of the continent. I will speak 
of them immediately. 

Every year there is an immigration as from a barren 
and an unfertile soil to a land of promise. The immense 
strides made by industrial Germany during the last few 

Whitechapel Shops. 

years will probably check this immigration. Hamburg, Ber- 
lin, not to speak of Antwerp and Rotterdam, also rapidly 
growing centers of trade, will attract some of those who have 
been accustomed to look toward London as the land of prom- 
ise. At present there appear to be about ten thousand new 
immigrants every year, without counting those who purpose 
going on to America. They consist of Russians, Poles, Ger- 
mans, Dutch, Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Belgians, French, 
Austrians, Hungarians, Italians, Swiss — ^but we have gone 
through the whole of Europe. I find no mention of Spain 
or Portugal or Turkey; nor are there, so far as I have heard. 




any aliens hailing from the smaller peoples — ^the Croats, 
Celts, Servians, or Bulgarians. What becomes of this array ? 
What has become of the hundred thousand who have come 
over during the last ten years ? Gk) up and down the streets 
of East London— -over the shop-fronts you will see every- 
where German and Jewish names, which seem to answer this 
question in part. Walk along the Whitechapel Road on 
a Sunday morning; there you will see most of the hun- 
dred thousand, there you will see the peaceful invaders who 
have occupied a large part of E^st London and have achieved 
for themselves, by dint of unconquerable patience and un- 
tiring work, a far better livelihood, with a far higher level 
of comfort, than could have been possible for them in their 
native lands. As for their children, you may look for them 
in the Board-schools; they have become English — ^both boys 
and girls : except for their names, they are English through 
and through ; they accept our institutions, laws, and customs ; 
they rejoice with our successes, they grieve with our misfor- 
tunes ; never yet has it been known that the second generation 
of the alien has failed to become English through and 
through. I believe that our power of absorbing alien immi- 
grants is even greater than that of the United States. 

The foreign element, with the exception of the Polish 
Jews, and that only for mutual help and at the outset, does 
not seek to separate itself and to create its own quarter. 
In the West End, it is true, there are streets principally 
inhabited by Italians, French, and Swiss ; that is because the 
people are employed in the restaurants as waiters and cooks, 
in the laundries, in the charcuieries and provision shops, which 
exist for the use of the foreigner. But their children will 
become English ; you may see them playing on the asphalted 
pavements outside the schools; you fail to perceive any dif- 
ference between the children of the German waiter and those 
of the English working-man. There are thousands of Ger- 
man clerks in London; they come over, some to stay, some 



to learn the conduct and the extent of English trade and to 
take back with them information about markets and prices 
and profits, which may be useful to their friends of Ham- 
burg and Altona. In either case they learn English as 
quickly as they can, and live in the English fashion. Where, ^ 

again, is the French colony ? There are thousands of French 
people in London, but there is no French colony. There is 
a society of Huguenot families, there is a French hospital, 
there are two or three French Protestant churches, but there 
is no part of East London, or of any other quarter of Lon- 
don, where we may find French the prevailing speech. There 
are, again, a good many Dutch. Where are they? Some 
of them have a kind of colony in Spitalfields, where they 
make cigars; as for the rest, they are scattered. One may 
see some of them any Sunday morning in their church, all i 

that is left of the great church of the Augustine Friars; 
in that old place a scanty congregation meets for service in 
the Dutch language and after the Dutch use. It is pleasant 
to sit among them and to look around upon the serious faces 
of the Hollanders, our former rivals, and to make believe to __ 

listen to the sermon, which sounds so much like English until 
you try to make out what it means. The feet of these honest 
burghers rest upon the dust of many great princes and lords 
and noble dames buried in the church of the Augustines, 
because it was so holy a place that sepulture here was a certain 
passport through purgatorial fires, without a stay in purga- 
tory, to the gates of heaven. Hither, on the day after the 
battle of Barnet, which practically ended the Wars of the 
Roses, they brought, in the long, grunting country wagons, 
the bodies of the lords and knights who fell upon the field, 
and buried them within this church. That of Warwick the 
king-maker lay here, the face uncovered, for some days, so 
that the people might be assured of his death. But I doubt j 

whether the Hollander cares much about the bones of an- 
cient nobles. There are also Swedes in East London, but the 


only place where I have met them is in their church near St. 
George' s-in-the-East, where you may see them any Sunday 
at the Swedish service. They are a pleasant-looking race, 
with brown hair and blue eyes; they appear to be largely 
composed of seafaring folk; one would like to be able to 
converse with them. However, they have no quarter of 
their own. 

Of course, the most important foreign element in East 
London is that of the newly arrived Jewish immigrants. 
They are the poorest of the very poor ; when they come over 
they have nothing. They are received by the Jewish Board 
of Guardians, which is, I believe, a model of a well-managed 
board; work is speedily found for them; their own people 
take them on at the lowest wage at which life can be sus- 
tained until they learn enough to move on and get higher 
pay. Their ranks are always recruited by new arrivals ; there 
is talk of their taking work away from English workmen. 
Yet there seem to be no signs, as on the continent, of a Juden- 
hetze, or any such wide-spread, unreasoning hatred of the 
Jew as we lately saw in France, and such as we have seen in 
Russia and in Germany. 

The newly arrived Jews have their own colony. It has 
much increased of late years. They now occupy, almost to 
the exclusion of others, a triangular area of Elast London — 
without a map it is not easy to make the limits understood — 
lying north of the Whitechapel Road immediately without 
the city limits: it has a base of nearly half a mile and an 
altitude of three fourths of a mile. Here, for the time, the 
poorer Jews are all crowded together. It is alleged that 
they have ingenious ways of sweating each other ; as soon as 
the Polish Jew has got his head a little above water he begins 
to exploit his countrymen; he acquires the miser^le tene- 
ments of the quarter and raises the rent and demands \ large 
sum for the "key" — ^that is to say, the fine on going In. 

These Jews all succeed, unless they are kept down by their 


favorite vice of gambling. It is perhaps as well foi their 
own peace that for the first few years of their residence in 
London they should live in their own quarter, among their 
own people. For the transformation of the poor, starving 
immigrant, willing to do anything at any wage, to the pros- 
perous master workman is unlovely. He succeeds partly 
because he is extremely industrious, patient, orderly, and law- 
abiding. But there are other reasons. It is sometimes pre- 
tended that the Jew is endowed naturally with greater intel- 
lectual power than is granted to men of other nationality. 
This I do not believe. The truth seems to be that advanced 
by Mr. Charles Booth, I think for the first time. "The 
poorest Jew," he says, "has inherited through the medium of 
his religion a trained intellect." This fact, if you consider 
it, seems quite sufficient, taken with those other gifts of in- 
dustry and obedience to order and law, to explain the Jew's 
success among the poorer classes through which he works 
his way upward. 

He is a person of trained intellect. What does this mean ? 
Poor and miserable as he stands before you, penniless, ragged, 
half-starved, cringing, this man has been educated in the his- 
tory of his own people, in the most ancient literature of the 
world, in a body of law which exercises all the ingenuity and 
casuistry of his teachers to harmonize with existing condi- 
tions. It is like putting into the works of an engineer, among 
the general hands, one who has been trained in applied mathe- 
matics. Into any kind of work which means competition, 
the Jew brings the trained intellect and the power of rea- 
soning due to his religious training ; he brings also the habit 
of looking about for chances and looking ahead for possi- 
bilities which long generations of self-defense have made 
hereditary. These faculties he brings into the market ; with 
them he contends against the dull mind, untrained and sim- 
ple, of the English craftsman. What wonder if he succeeds? 
Nothing but brute violence, which he will not meet with here, 
can keep him down. 


This I believe to be the great secret of the Jew's success. 
It is his intellectual superiority over working-men of his 
own class. Observe, however, that we do not find him con- 
spicuously successful when he has to measure his intellectual 
strength against the better class. In law, for instance, he 
has produced one or two great lawyers, but not more than 
his share; in mathematics and science, one or two great 
names, but not more than his share. I am inclined to think 
that in every branch of intellectual endeavor the Jew holds 
his own. But I doubt if it can be proved that he does more. 
So long as we can hold our own in the higher fields there 
will be no Judenhetze in this country. I am informed, how- 
ever, that the leaders of the people in London are persistent 
in their exhortations to the new-comers to make themselves 
English — ^to make themselves English as fast as possible; 
to send their children to the Board-schools, and to make them 
English. It is the wisest advice. There should be no feel- 
ing as of necessary separation between Jew and Christian. 
We ought to live in amity beside each other, if not with each 
other ; we should no more ask if a man is a Jew than we ask 
if a man who has just joined our club is a Roman Catholic 
or a Unitarian. 

Yet, even in this country, it cannot be said that the Jew 
is popular; there are prejudices against him which are no 
longer those concerning his religion. Here, again, I turn to 
the authority who has made so profound a study of the ques- 
tion; the importance of the question is my excuse. This is 
how Mr. Charles Booth explains the dislike and suspicion 
with which the Jews are still regarded by many: "No one 
will deny that the children of Israel are the most law-abiding 
inhabitants of East London. . . . The Jew is quick to 
perceive that law and order, and the sanctity of contract, are 
the sine qua non of a full and free competition in the open 
market. And it is by competition, and by competition alone, 
that the Jew seeks success. But in the case of the foreign 
Jews it is a competition unrestricted by the personal dignity 


of a definite standard of life and unchecked by the social 
feelings of class loyalty and trade integrity. The small 
manufacturer injures the trade through which he rises to the 
rank of a capitalist by bad and dishonest production. The 
petty dealer suits his wares and his terms to the weakness, 
the ignorance, and the vice of his customers; the mechanic, 
indifferent to the interests of the class to which he belongs, 
and intent only on becoming a small master, acknowledges 
no limit to the process of underbidding fellow-workers ex- 
cept the exhaustion of his own strength. In short, the for- 
eign Jew totally ignores all social obligations other than 
keeping the law of the land, the maintenance of his own 
family, and the charitable relief of coreligionists." 

The place and time in which to see the poorer Jews of 
London collected together is on Sunday morning in Went- 
worth Street and Middlesex Street, Aldgate — the old Petti- 
coat Lane. These streets and those to right and left are 
inhabited entirely by Jews; Sunday is their market-day; all 
the shops are open; the streets are occupied by a triple line 
of stalls, on which are exposed for sale all kinds of things, 
but chiefly garments — coats and trousers. There is a 
mighty hubbub of those who chaffer and those who offer and 
those who endeavor to attract attention. You will see a 
young fellow mounted on a pair of wooden steps, brandish- 
ing something to wear ; with eloquence convincing, with ges- 
ture and with action, he declares and repeats and assures the 
people of the stoutness of the material and the excellence 
of the work. The crowd moves slowly along, it listens criti- 
cally; this kind of thing may become monotonous; the ora- 
tory of the salesman, in order to be effective, continually re- 
quires new adjectives, new metaphors, new comparisons; 
among the crowd are other professors of the salesman's rhet- 
oric. They know the tricks, they have learned the art. One 
wonders how many such fervid speeches this young man has 
to make before he effects a single sale. We need not pity 

A Comer in Petticoat Lane. 


him, although at the close of the market his voice is hoarse 
with bawling and the results are meager ; he enjoys the thing ; 
it is his one day of glory, and he has admirers; he knows 
that among the audience there are many who envy his powers 
and would fain take his place arid deceive the people. 

Not all the holders of stalls are so eloquent. Here, before 
a miserable tray resting on crazy trestles, stand a ragged 
old couple. They look very, very poor; they cast wist- 
ful eyes upon the heedless crowd; their wares are noth- 
ing but common slippers of bright red and blue cloth. Will 
you buy a pair because the makers are so old and so 
poor ? Alas ! they cannot understand your offer ; their only 
language is Yiddish, that remarkable composite tongue 
which in one place is a mixture of Russian and Hebrew, 
in another of German and Hebrew, in another of Lettish 
and Hebrew. They stare, they eagerly offer their wares; a 
kindly compatriot from the crowd interprets. There is a 
little bargaining, and the slippers are in your pocket. Very 
well. It is a piece of good luck for the old pair; like unto 
him who had the splendid shilling "fate cannot harm them; 
they will dine to-day." True to their national instincts, 
which are Oriental, they have made you pay three times as 
much for the slippers as they would charge one of their own 
people. Going on slowly with the crowd one admires the 
variety of the wares laid out on trestles. Who wants these 
rusty iron things — keys, locks, broken tools, things unintelli- 
gible ? Somebody, for there is noisy chaffering. 

You observe that the newly arrived Polish Jew is for the 
most part a man of poor physique; he is a small, narrow- 
chested, pasty-faced person. "Is this," you ask, "a de- 
scendant of Joshua's valiant captains ? Is this the race which 
followed Judas Maccabaeus? Is this the race which defied 
the legions of Titus?" "My friend," replies a kindly scholar, 
one of their own people, "these are the children of the Ghetto. 
For two thousand years they have lived in the worst parts 


of a crowded city; they have been denied work, except of 
the lowest; they have endured every kind of scorn and con- 
tumely. Come again in ten years' time. In the free air of 
Anglo-Saxon rule they 
will grow ; you will not 
know them again." 

It is among these 
new-comers that one 
recognizes the Oriental 
note ; there is among 
the women a love of 
bright colors ; among 
the men, even with the 
poorest, a certain desire 
for display; an asser- 
tion of grandeur. Look 
at this little shop of one 
window on the ground 
iP^ floor. It is crowded 

with girls. Outside the 
proprietor stands. He 
is not tall, but he swells 
with pride ; a large cigar 
is between his lips ; it is 
a sign and a symbol. 
■'■.-'■'■ ' ■' His poorer countrymen 
A''Schnorrer"<Beggar)oftheGh«to. 'ook with envy upon 
that very large cigar. 
He condescends to talk because he is so proud that he must 
display the cause of his glory. "All the week," he says, "I 
study what to give them on Sunday. To-day it 's bonnets. 
Last Sunday it was fichus. Next Sunday? That is my 
secret. My wife serves the shop. I furnish the contents. 
All the week my son Jacob keeps it, but there is no trade 
except on Sunday." 


In a second-hand furniture shop, to which we have been 
directed, the proprietor sits among his tables and chairs. 
He also has a large cigar for the better display of his gran- 
deur. He is conscious of the envy with which the man who 
has a shop is regarded by a man who must work with his 
own hands. This man has more — ^he has a father. You 
called on purpose to see that father. You would like to see 
him ? You are invited to step up-stairs. . There, in a high- 
backed chair, with pillows on either side, sits a little shriv- 
eled-up creature. His eyes are bright, for he has just awak- 
ened from the sleep which fills up most of the day and all the 
night. Beside him is the Book of the Law in Hebrew. Upon 
the open book there rests his pipe. Two girls, his great 
grandchildren, sit with him and watch him. For the old man 
is a hundred and three years of age. Yet he can still 
read his Hebrew Bible, and he can still take his pipe of 

"Last night," said one of the girls, "we carried him down- 
stairs into the shop, and the people crowded round to see 
him. He drank a whole glass of beer — in their sight." 

The patriarch nods and laughs, proud of the feat. He 
then talks about himself. He was bom in the Ghetto of 
Venice — you can see the place to this day. His father came 
to London when he was a child. His occupation, he tells 
us, was formerly that of cook. He was employed as cook 
for the great banquets of the City companies ; in that capacit}' 
he used to drink as much wine as he wished to have, and 
in those days he wished for a great deal. His lengthened 
years, therefore, are not due to abstinence from strong drink. 
He was also a follower of the Ring, and was constantly 
engaged as second or bottle-holder in the prize-fights so com- 
mon in the first sixty years of the century. He remembers 
what was once considered a great political event, the com- 
mittal of Sir Francis Burdett to the Tower of London in 
1808. Sir Francis was at the time a leading Radical. He 


was afterward the father of Angela, Lady Burdett-Coutts, 
a leader in the noble army of philanthropists. 

We are not allowed to talk too long to this ancient and 
venerable survival. After a quarter of an hour or so his 
watchful nurses dismiss us, and he promises to see us again 
—"if I live," he adds, with a sigh. "If I live." It is his 
constant refrain. He has outlived all his friends, all his com- 
panions, all his enemies, all his contemporaries. There is 
no pleasure left to him save that of being admired on ac- 
count of extreme old age. It is enough. It binds him to 
life; he would not wish to die so long as that is left. "If I 
live," he says. 

For my own part, I like sometimes to sit in the synagogue 
on the Sabbath and listen to the service, which I do not un- 
derstand. For it seems to explain the people — ^their intense 
pride, their tenacity, their separation from the rest of the 
world. Their service — I may be mistaken; I have no He- 
brew — strikes upon my ears as one long, grand hymn of 
praise and gladness. The hymns they sing, the weird, 
strange melodies of the hymns, are those, they allege, which 
were sung when Israel went out of Egypt; they are those 
which were sung when in the Red Sea the waters stood up 
like a wall on either side to let them through ; they are those 
which were sung when Pharaoh's hosts lay drowning and 
the walls of water closed together. The service, the reading, 
the hymns, the responses — they are all an assertion that the 
choice of the Lord hath fallen upon this people; the Lord 
their God hath chosen them. Let no one speak of Jews until 
he has listened to their service. By their worship the mind 
of a people may be discerned. 

I have already mentioned the settlement of the Hugue- 
not silk-weavers at Spitalfields — the fields behind the old 
hospital and monastery called St. Mary's. There they have 
remained. Until quite recently, they carried on from father 
to son the trade of silk- weaving ; there are silk- weavers in 


Spitalfields and Bethnal Green. An attempt has been made 
to revive the trade; meantime many of the old houses re- 
main with their wide windows on the first floor, and over 
the shops one may still see the French names, or these names 
rudely Anglicized. But the French settlement no longer 
exists; the French language has been forgotten, and the 
Huguenots are completely absorbed. They are now like all 
the rest of us, a mongrel blend of Celt, Saxon, Dane, Nor- 
man, Fleming, and everything else. It is the Anglo-Saxon 
blend, or, as we ought rather to call it, the Anglo-Celtic 

A small colony of Italians has settled in another part of 
London — ^not in East London. You would know the colony, 
which does not belong to these pages, if you were to stumble 
upon it accidentally, by the barrel-organs in the courts, by 
the barrows on which the Italian costers carry round their 
penny ices, by the bright-colored handkerchiefs and the black 
hair of the women, and by the cheap Italian restaurants, 
where the colonists can rejoice in Italian cookery and Italian 

In the West India Dock Road, before you reach the docks, 
there is a building on the north side which contains a colony 
always changing. It is the home of the Indian and Malay 
sailors — the Lascars and the Arabs. I remember spending a 
morning there with one who was afterward murdered by 
Cairene ruffians in the desert of Sinai. This man loved the 
place because he loved the Oriental folk who lodged there, 
and because he not only talked their languages, but knew 
their manners and customs, and would sit with them after 
their manner, talk with them on their own subjects, and be- 
come one of themselves. On this occasion he met a certain 
poor Persian scholar down on his luck. He was a man of 
great dignity and presence, insomuch that one realized the 
truth that in the East clothes do not make the man. He was 
in rags, but he had lost nothing of his dignity. It was 


pleasant to see them sitting down together on the floor, side 
by side, discussing and quoting Persian poetry, and still more 
pleasant to see the Persian quickly yielding to the charm of a 
common love of literature and treating the infidel as a friend 
and a brother. It is a strange place and full of strange peo- 
ple; no one can understand how strange it is, how great is 
the gulf between the Oriental and the Occidental, unless he 
can talk with them and learn how they think and how they 
regard us. My friend interpreted for me, afterward, some- 
thing of what the Persian scholar had said. Colossal is the 
pride of the Oriental ; inconceivable the contempt with which 
he regards the restless West. 

" Here as I sit by the Jumna bank, 

Watching the flow of the sacred stream, 
Pass me the legions, rank on rank, 
And the cannon roar and the bayonets gleam." 

" When shall these phantoms wither away, 

Like the smoke of the guns on the wind-swept hill, 
Like the sounds and colors of yesterday ; 
And the soul have rest and the air be still ? " 

Nearly opposite this house is a small street which contains 
the Chinese colony. Compared with the Chinese colony of 
New York, part of which I once visited, one sweltering night 
in July, that of London is a small thing and of no impor- 
tance. Yet it is curious. There are not, I believe, more 
than a hundred Chinese, or thereabouts, in all; they occupy 
a few houses in this street ; there are one or two small shops 
kept by Chinamen; it is considered quite safe to visit the 
place, at all events in the da3rtime ; I was myself taken there 
by one who was personally known to the shopkeepers. There 
was not much that was attractive or interesting offered for 
sale, except Chinese plajdng-cards, which are curious; con- 
versation in Pidgin-English is difficult at first, but one 


quickly acquires enough of the patois. There is a boarding- 
house for Chinese in the street; the ground floor we found 
furnished with a tiny joss-house, in one corner, and a large 
table which occupied nearly the whole of the room ; the table 
was covered with Chinamen sitting and sprawling; they were 
wholly absorbed in a little gamble with dominoes and small 
Chinese coins; their absorption in the chances of the game 
was complete. One of them, the banker, manipulated the 
dominoes; nobody spoke; every time that a domino was 
turned there was the exchange of coins in silence. The 
eager, intent faces were terrifying; one recognized the pas- 
sion which sees nothing, hears nothing, cares for nothing, 
feels nothing, but the fierce eagerness of play. We looked 
on for five minutes. No one spoke, no one breathed. Then 
I became aware that in a room, a cupboard at the back, there 
was a fire, with a great black pot hanging over it and a 
man with a spoon taking off the cover and stirring the con- 
tents and inspecting the progress of the stew. Presently 
he came out, ladle in hand, and bawled aloud, but in Chinese. 
I took his bawling for an announcement of dinner. But 
none of the players heard; the banker turned up another 
domino ; there was another exchange of coins ; no one heeded 
the call. 

Yet it was the dinner-bell; down-stairs came chattering, 
laughing, and joking, half a dozen of the boarders, each with 
a basin in his hand. The cook filled every man's basin, and 
they went up-stairs again, and none of the players marked 
them or heeded them, or turned his head, and none of the 
boarders took the slightest notice of the players. Nobody 
meanwhile paid the least attention to the joss-house, where 
burned the candle which is said to be the Chinaman's sole 
act of worship. And nobody took the least notice of the 
stranger who stood at the door and looked on. 

Across the road, in another house, was an opium den. 
We have read accounts of the dreadful place, have we not? 


Greatly to my disappointment, because when one goes to an 
opium den for the first time one expects a creeping of the 
flesh at least, the place was neither dreadful nor horrible. 
The room was of fair size, on the first floor; it was fur- 
nished with a great bed, covered with a mattress; there was 
a bench against the wall, and there were half a dozen com- 
mon cane chairs. Two men were lying on the bed enjoying 
the opium sleep, perhaps with the dreams that De Quincey 
has described — ^but one cannot, even the thought reader 
cannot, read another man's dreams. A third man was taking 
his opium by means of a long pipe. Half a dozen men were 
waiting their turn. One of them had a musical instrument. 
Except for the smell of the place, which was overwhelming, 
the musical instrument was the only horror of the opium den. 
When I think of it I seem to remember a thousand finger- 
nails scratching the window, or ten thousand slate-pencils 
scratching a schoolboy's slate. It is one of those memories 
which sink into the brain and never leave a man. Nor can 
I understand why, under the weird and wonderful torture 
of the intolerable music of that instrument, even the sleepers 
themselves did not awake, their dreams dissipated, their 
opium, so to speak, wasted and rendered of none account, 
and fly, shrieking, forswearing forever opium and the Chi- 
nese quarter. 

There are small colonies and settlements of other for- 
eigners. Anarchists make little clubs where murders are 
hatched, especially murders of foreign sovereigns ; they think 
to overthrow a settled government by the assassination of a 
king; they succeed only in adding one more to the anxieties 
and the dangers that accompany a crown. There are Or- 
leanists, Bonapartists, Carlists, and I know not what, who 
carry on their little intrigues and their correspondence with 
partizans in France and Spain and elsewhere, with a g^eat 
show of zeal and much promise of results — ^the day after to- 
morrow. But with these we have nothing to do. It is 



enough for us to note the continual immigration into Lon- 
don of aliens who become in a few years English in manners, 
and in the next generation are English in speech and in 
thought, in will, as in manners. As it was in the days of 
Edward I, when the men of Rouen, the men of Caen, the 
men of the Empire, the Venetian, the Genoese, the Fleming, 
the Gascon, the Spaniard, the Hamburger, from every part 
of western Europe came as merchants to trade, and remained 
to settle. So it is in the days of Victoria. They come to the 
banks of the Thames by thousands every year, and they 
come to stay, and they are content to be absorbed. 

^ >v 








AT the present moment nearly all those parts of East Lon- 
xjL don which are inhabited by working-men of all kinds, 
from the foreman and the engineer and the respectable crafts- 
man in steady employ at good wages down to the casual and 
the dock-hand and the children of the street, are suffering 
from a dearth of houses. In this vast labyrinthine maze of 
streets — all houses — there are not enough houses. The peo- 
ple are willing to incur discomfort; a respectable household, 
accustomed to the decencies of life and the wholesome sepa- 
ration of their children from themselves and from each other, 
will consent to pack them all into one room, or into a work- 
man's flat of two rooms in a "model" barrack ; they are ready 
to offer double the former rent, with a tremendous premium 
on the "key," but still there are no houses and no lodgings 
to be had even on those terms. The rents of the lowest 
tenements are mounting daily ; there seems to be no limit in 
the upward tendency ; the landlord is no longer doubtful as to 
the increased rent he can demand; the rise is automatic, it 
goes on without any stimulus or grinding on his part. A 
single room, in some quarters, is the very best that can be 
hoped for; the rent of that room, which was formerly from 
three to four shillings, is now six or more, while the charge 
for the "key," — t. ^., the fine on taking the room, — which was 
formerly a few shillings, is now a pound or even more. 
Meantime, although they are willing to pay the high rents, 



people are everywhere found wandering in search of lodg- 
ings. A workman who has found employment must be with- 
in easy reach of his work; if he cannot find lodgings, what 
is he to do? The workhouse authorities have in some cases 
risen to the occasion. They agree to take in a man's wife 
and family and to keep them at a fixed charge until the 
breadwinner finds a lodging. He himself seeks a fourpenny 
bed at a "doss" house — i, c, a common lodging-house. 

In some parts it is reported that the overcrowding has 
actually led to the letting, not of rooms, but of beds; the 
children are put to sleep under the bed; men on night duty 
hire the bed for the day; nay, it is even said that beds are 
divided among three tenants, or sets of tenants. Of these 
one will occupy it from ten in the evening till six in the morn- 
ing, another from six in the morning till two in the after- 
noon, and a third from two until ten. This Box and Cox 
arrangement would present difficulties with the children. 

The situation, which has been growing worse for a long 
time, has now reached that acute stage in a social problem 
when it can no longer be neglected by statesmen or by philan- 
thropists. Attention, at least, has been called to the evil — 
papers are read, articles are written, speeches are made; 
so far we have got little farther than an understanding of 
the difficulties which are such as to seem fatal to any pro- 
posed remedy that has been yet advanced. For my own 
part, I have no views except a conviction that something 
must be done, and that without delay, and that the best 
that can be done will only be the least dangerous of many 
proposed experiments. 

The subject may appear technical and dry, but it is impos- 
sible to speak of work-a-day London without touching on 
the difficulty of housing the people. A speaker at a recent 
meeting took exception to the phrase "housing of the peo- 
ple." He said, which is quite true, that the people are not 
cattle. We are not, yet we must be housed whether we are 
rich or poor, or only middling. I am, myself, housed in- 


different well, but I feel no comparison with an ox or a cow 
when I am told so. 

The facts of the case were first ascertained by a commis- 
sioner for the "Daily News," and published in that paper early 
in 1899. T^^ work was carried out by Mr. George Haw, a 
resident in one of the new settlements. The reader who 
wishes to consider the subject from every point of view is 
referred to the volume in which Mr. Haw has reprinted his 
valuable papers. 

It is not probable that the difficulties which any one popu- 
lous city has to encounter have no lesson to convey to other 
cities, though the circumstances in each case must vary with 
the conditions of site, access, and many other considera- 
tions. Overcrowding in New York or in Boston would cer- 
tainly present many features differing widely from those in 
London. Moreover, the remedy or the alleviations which 
would serve in one case* might be impossible in another. 

The principal causes operating to produce this overcrowd- 
ing are three — ^the vast and rapid increase of population, the 
extraordinary development of new industries in East London, 
with a consequent demand for more labor, and the flocking 
of country lads into the town. 

For instance, there are two places, both lying outside the 
limits of the London County Council, which twenty or thirty 
years ago were mere villages or rural hamlets, the churches 
standing among market gardens and fields, having still their 
great houses and gardens, the residence of City merchants who 
drove in their own carriages to and from their offices. One 
of them, called East Ham, I remember, a quarter of a cen- 
tury ago, as a village spread about on a large area, as if land 
had no value. It was a flat expanse, fertile, and lying close 
to the Thames marshes. The map of that time shows farms 
and farmhouses, almshouses, and a few cottages. This place 
has now a population of ninety thousand, increasing every 
day, and consisting entirely of the working-class. 

Its neighbor, formerly also a village a little nearer Lon- 


don and called West Ham, presents on the map of 1891 the 
aspect, familiar to the growing suburban town, of a small 
central area covered with streets, and with new streets run- 
ning out north, south, east, and west. It is quite obvious 
from the map that West Ham was destined to be rapidly built 
over. It is now a huge town of two hundred and seventy 
thousand people, also, like East Ham, entirely consisting of 
working-people. It was at one time a place much loved by 
Quakers ; evidence of their occupation still remains in certain 
stately old houses, now let out in lodgings ; their gardens are 
built over; the character of the place is changed; the streets 
are crowded with people; trains and omnibuses run about all 
day ; one of the Quaker's gardens still survives ; it belonged to 
a member of the Gurney family; the house has been pulled 
down, but the lordly garden is kept up and the grounds around 
it have become the park for the West Ham folk. The quick- 
ened demand for lodgings has caused the whole of this town 
to be overrun with streets of small workmen's houses, contain- 
ing four or six rooms each, most of which are let to families 
by two rooms or by single rooms. But the demand still con- 
tinues ; by-streets are run across, narrow lanes usurp the small 
backyard or little slip of garden; when the whole available 
space is built over, what will happen next ? The crazy condi- 
tion of these jerry-built houses, after a few years, opens up 
another and a different set of questions. The case of West 
Ham represents only on a more rapid settle what has been 
going on for many years over the whole of industrial Lon- 
don. And now we seem at last to have arrived at an end 
to the accommodation possible on the old method of small 
houses and narrow streets. 

The results of the overcrowding are, as might be expected, 
deplorable in the extreme. Among other evils, it kills the 
infants; it dwarfs those who grow up among its evil influ- 
ences; it poisons the air; it deprives the house of comfort, of 
cleanliness, of decency; it drives the man to drink; and it 

East and West Ham. 

East and West Ham, from the Marshes. 


makes the life of their unhappy wives one long-continued 
misery of hopeless battle with dirt and disease. The late 
Sir Benjamin Richardson would allow, in his "City of 
Health," no more than twenty-five persons to an acre; in 
some of the outlying suburbs of London there are no more ; in 
others there are, or have been, actually as many as 3000 
people crowded together over a single acre of ground. Put 
them up all together in a solid square; each person will take 
2 feet by 1^4 feet — that is, three square feet. The whole 
company of 3000 will stand on 9000 square feet, or 1000 
square yards. This is about a fifth of an acre, so that if we 
spread them out to cover the whole of the acre each person 
will have no more than a square yard and a half in which to 
stand, to sleep, and to breathe. 

Of course, the first effect of the overcrowding is the viti- 
ation of the air. The extent of this vitiation has been ascer- 
tained by chemical analysis. But, indeedj the senses of sight 
and smell do not require the aid of chemical analysis in 
order to prove that the air is corrupt and unwholesome. It is 
poisoned by the breathing of so many ; by the refuse that will 
always be found lying about where a multitude of people are 
massed together ; by all the contributions of all the unwashed. 
Sometimes the kindly rains descend and wash the pavements 
and the roads ; sometimes the fresh breeze quickens and drives 
out the malodorous air from the narrow streets, but wind 
and rain cannot enter into rooms where the occupants jeal- 
ously keep the windows closed, and fear cold more than 
they fear the fetid breath of diphtheria and fever; the wind 
drops ; the warm sun comes out ; then from the ground under 
and between the stones, from the saturated road, from the 
brick walls, from the open doors, the foul air steals back 
into the street and hangs over the houses invisible, yet almost 
as pestilential as the white mist of the morning that floats 
above the tropical marsh. 

The magnitude of the evil may be estimated by the fact 


that nearly a million people have to live in London under 
these conditions. A whole million of people are condemned 
to this misery and to the moral and physical sufferings en- 
tailed — the degradation of decent women, the death of chil- 
dren who might have grown up honest and respectable men 
and women! A whole million! We cannot think in mil- 
lions; the magnitude of the number conveys no impression 
as to the magnitude of the evil. We can only realize it by 
taking a single case. Let us take the case of A. B. and his 
family. He was by trade a mechanical engineer; perhaps 
they called him a fitter, but it matters nothing; he was a 
decent and a sober man ; he had a wife and five children, the 
eldest of whom was twelve and as "likely** a g^rl as one 
would see anywhere — ^but they were all likely children, clean 
and well kept and well fed and well mannered, the pride of 
their mother. The man had employment offered him in 
some works. It was absolutely necessary for him to live 
near his work. He broke up, therefore, his "little home" — 
they all delight in making a "little home" — and brought his 
children to live in the overcrowded quarter near his work. 
After a great deal of difficulty he secured one room. It was 
no more than ten feet square; in that room he had to pack 
all his children and his wife and all his effects. There was 
simply no room for the latter; he therefore pawned them; 
it would be only for a time, a few days, a week or two, and 
they would find a house, or at least better lodgings. Imagine, 
if you can, the change. This unfortunate family came from 
a decent flat of three rooms, in which the two boys slept in 
the living-room, the three girls in one bedroom and the 
parents in the other. They had on the staircase access to a 
common laundry; the roof was the place for drying the 
clothes ; it was also a place where on a summer evening they 
could breathe fresh air. In place of this flat they had to 
accommodate themselves in a single small room. This had 
to contain all their furniture ; to be at once the common bed- 


rcx)m, living-rcx)m, kitchen, wash-house, drying-room, dress- 
ing-room — ^think of it! There was, however, no choice. 
They pawned most of their "sticks" ; they brought in noth- 
ing but absolute necessaries ; they had a large bed, a table, a 
cupboard, two or three chairs, some kitchen things, and a 
washtub — ^little else. And so, uncomplaining, they settled 
down. It would only be for a week or two. Meantime, the 
rent of this den was 6^. 6rf. a week, and a pound for the 

Outside, the pressure grew worse; the more the factories 
flourished, the more hands were wanted; new houses were 
run up with all the speed and all the scamping of work that 
a jerry-builder could provide, but still the pressure grew. 
For the man his home brought no comfort; he was not a 
drinking man, but he began to sit in the public house and to 
spend his evenings talking; his children could not sit at 
home ; they ran about the streets ; the eldest g^rl, who was so 
pretty and had been so sweet, began to assume the loud talk 
and rowdy habits of the girls around her; on the unfortu- 
nate woman lay the chief burden of all. She toiled all day 
long to keep things sweet and clean ; alas ! what can be done 
when seven people have to sleep in a room with little more 
than a thousand cubic feet of air between them all? She 
saw her husband driven away to the public house, she saw 
her children losing their bright looks and their rosy cheeks : 
what could she do ? Many of the women around her, giving 
up the struggle, went in and out of the public house all day. 
This woman did not. But she was no longer the neat, clean 
housewife amid her clean surroundings. The stamp of de- 
terioration was upon her and upon the others. 

Then the summer came, with a week of hot weather to 
begin with, and the foundation of the house asserted it- 
self; the house, you see, was built upon the rubbish of 
the dust-cart. You do not believe it possible? I can show 
you whole streets in the suburbs which I have myself seen 


built upon the rubbish of the dust-heap. It contains, among 
other things useful and beneficial to the occupants, quan- 
tities of cabbage stumps and other bits of vegetable matter. 
So when the hot weather came the cabbage stumps behaved 
accordingly; the foul air from the foundations crept through 
the floors and crawled up the stairs and poured under the 

First it was sore throat, then it was something else, and 
from house to house it was spread, and the doctor came and 
went, and in the broad bed of the little room lay four children 
sick at once; their soft, white skins were hard and dry and 
red; their brains wandered; the mother, with haggard face, 
bent over them. 

It is all over now; three of the children lie in the new 
cemetery; the man has got a house at last; he will not get 
back his children, nor will the two who are left to him ever 
be again what they once were. This is one story out of the 
thousands which may be told of the people who live in the 
crowded quarters. 

Another cause of overcrowding springs from the bad 
building of the workmen's houses. It is not only the founda- 
tion that is rotten : the house itself is built of bad brick laid 
in single courses, the woodwork is unseasoned and shrinks, 
zinc is used instead of lead, the stairs are of matchboard — 
only the cheapest and worst materials are used. There are 
laws, there always have been laws, against bad building; 
there are inspectors, yet the bad building continues. A man 
who had been an apprentice in the building trade told me how 
this surprising result of our laws and our inspectors used 
to be possible twenty-five years ago. "It is this way," he 
said; "I was a boy when these houses were built. For a 
house like this it was £15 to the inspector; for one of the 
smaller houses it was f 10." We must not believe it possible 
for such a thing to happen now ; one's faith in human nature 
would suffer too severe a blow, but when one looks around 


in certain quarters that little transaction between the honest 
builder and the faithful inspector recurs to my unwilling 

In course of time authority interposes. The houses are 
condemned. Out go the people, with their sticks, into the 
street; the houses are boarded up, the boys throw stones at 
the windows ; the place is deserted. But where are the peo- 
ple to go? 

There is a riverside parish entirely inhabited by the low- 
est kind of working-people, chiefly dock laborers and casuals 
and factory girls. There are literally no inhabitants of a 
higher class, except the clergy and a few ladies who live 
and work among the people. There was until recently a 
population of eight thousand in this parish. But street after 
street has been condemned ; the houses, boarded up, their win- 
dows broken by the boys, stand miserably waiting to be 
pulled down; the parish has lost three thousand of its popu- 
lation. Where have they gone? Nobody knows; but they 
must go somewhere, and they have certainly gone where the 
rents are higher and the crowding worse. 

Or the London County Council, becoming aware of the 
insanitary condition of a whole area, condemns it all, en bloc, 
takes it over, pulls down the miserable tenements and erects 
new buildings in their place. Nothing could be better; 
everybody applauds this vigorous action. Yet what hap- 
pens? I will show you from a single example. 

There is an area of fifteen acres in Bethnal Green, one of 
the worst and most overcrowded parts of London. It con- 
tains twenty streets, all small; there were 730 houses, and 
there were 5719 people. About a third of this army lived 
in tenements of one room each; nearly a half lived in tene- 
ments of two rooms. This area has been entirely cleared 
away ; the London County Council turned out the people, and 
built upon the site a small town whose streets are fifty 
feet wide, whose houses are five stories high; water and gas 


are laid on, workshops are provided, there are only thirty 
one-room tenements, there are only five hundred of two 
rooms, and so on; the rent of the two-room tenements is 
six shillings a week; the center of the area is occupied by a 
circular terraced garden. Nothing could be better. More- 
over, to crown all, the cost of the whole will be repaid to the 
ratepayers by means of a sinking fund spread over sixty 

BUT — ^what became of the five thousand while these fine 
palaces were being built? Did their condition improve? Or 
did it become worse during the period of construction? 
They were turned out ; they had to go somewhere ; they im- 
posed themselves upon districts already overcrowded, their 
habits most certainly grew more careless and more draggled, 
their condition most certainly grew worse. How many of 
the five thousand will come back to the old quarters and 
enter upon the civilized life oflfered to them? I know not; 
but the experience is that the former occupants do not return. 

London in all directions is now thickly planted with the 
huge, ugly erections called model lodging-houses, workmen's 
residences, and barracks. South London, across the river, 
is especially rich in these erections. Drury Lane, the historic 
Drury Lane, once the home of Nell Gwynne, the site of the 
National Theatre, accommodates a vast number of people 
in its barracks ; it is favored also with two playgrounds for 
the children; both are disused burial grounds — one of them 
is the burial ground in "Bleak House." 

Opinions vary as to the success of these buildings. Their 
advantages at first sight appear overwhelming. Step out 
of a Drury Lane block into one of the courts beside it and 
a dozen advantages will immediately be perceived by all your 
senses at once. It is a great thing to be clean if you like 
cleanliness ; to have a sanitary house if you like fresh air ; to 
have conveniences for washing if, unlike Dr. Johnson, you 
prefer your linen to be clean. But there are certain losses 


about the block building. I do not say that they are greater 
than the gains. It has always been the instinctive desire 
of the Englishman to have his own home, to himself, sepa- 
rate. It is a survival of the early Anglo-Saxon custom when 
each family formed a settlement to itself. The working- 
man would like to have his cottage and his bit of garden, 
and to enjoy his own individuality apart from the rest of 
the world. In the block he loses this distinction ; his family 
is one of fifty, of a hundred; his children are part of a 
flock, there is no more distinction among them than in a 
flock of sheep. There are great dangers attending the loss 
of the individual; it tends to destroy ambition, to weaken 
the power of free thought, to injure the responsibility of 
self-government. This loss is a very great danger among a 
people whose whole history illustrates the value of a sturdy 
assertion of self, of personal independence, of responsibility, 
and of a continual readiness to revolt against any encroach- 
ments of authority. For these reasons many regard the 
barrack or block system with suspicion and dislike. 

Other reasons there are which make these flats unpopular, 
even though they continue to be in great request. They are 
defects which might be managed by the exercise of a little 
organization. But it has not yet occurred to the managing 
bodies of these barracks that the tenants who are intrusted 
with the votes for the government of the country might also 
very well be intrusted with the government of their own 
dwellings. Thus it is complained that a whole staircase is 
sometimes terrorized by two or three roughs, that there are 
quarrels and drunken brawls on the stairs at night, that there 
are continual disputes concerning the day for using the laun- 
dry, that the stairs are not kept clean, that the children see 
and hear and learn things which they should not — ^but then 
the children of the streets learn things which they should not ; 
I fear we cannot keep the children from the tree of know- 
ledge. The presence of drunken rowdies, the objection of 



many to take their share in cleaning the stairs, and other 
scandals of the kind ought all to be remedied or, at least, 
attacked by the formation of committees of order composed 
of the tenants themselves. I have long been of opinion that 
the real remedy of most of the abuses of our streets and 
slums would be the organization of the respectable inhabi- 
tants into committees of order and the banishment of the 
police. Such committees in our barrack dwellings should 
have power of ejectment against evil-doers; they should be 
their own police. 

It is characteristic of the Salvation Army that they some- 
times attack a rowdy staircase in their own way by sending 
two girl lieutenants to take a flat and live there, setting an 
example of cleanly and orderly life, and bringing round the 
women to a better mind. I have heard that their success 
in this work has been marked, and I am prepared to believe 
it. At the same time, the committee would be a permanent 
police, while the appearance of the girls can only be occa- 
sional and only temporary. 

Another result of the barrack life — one which the work- 
ing-man himself does not perceive — is that the children grow 
up slow of sight, not short-sighted, but slow of sight. They 
have nothing to exercise their eyes upon; in the country 
there are a thousand things; children are always looking 
about them for the birds, the creatures, the flowers, the 
berries; in the barracks their playground is an asphalted 
pavement, with the high houses for boundary walls; there 
is nothing to look at. When they are taken out for a day 
in the country, once or twice a year, they see in a bank of 
flowers only a breadth of color, such as a house-painter might 
spread ; it takes time for them to discern the flowers and the 
grasses which produce the pleasing effect ; one bird is to them 
the same as another ; they are not quick enough to catch the 
rapid flight of the swallow. One tree is the same as an- 
other; they do not discern differences of shape or color in 


the leaf or in the bough. A few summer days in the coun- 
try cannot g^ve to that child the training of sight which 
the country-bred child receives every time it goes out into 
the open. 

Here, then, are the facts of the case: overcrowding, with 
results most dangerous to the community, and the principal 
causes — increase of population, rapid development of indus- 
tries, the necessity of being near the work, the condemna- 
tion of insanitary streets and areas. There remain the reme- 
dies proposed. We have seen that the erection of blocks, 
while it provides decent accommodation for a vast number of 
working-men, turns out a large number into the streets to 
find what accommodation they can. Obviously, therefore, 
the further extension of this method would result in far 
worse overcrowding. The housing in big barracks has also, 
it has been seen, its own dangers. 

We come, next, to the proposal which seems to meqi with 
the greatest amount of favor. It is the creation and erec- 
tion of industrial villages within easy reach of town — ^say 
not more than twelve miles out. The railways would have 
to sell cheap workmen's tickets; the villages should consist 
of three- or four-roomed cottages, each with a scullery and 
a garden. There should be a common garden as well ; there 
should be no sale of drink in any of the villages ; there should 
be in each a cooperative store; the rent of a cottage ought 
not to exceed three shillings a week. 

This is the proposal advanced by General Booth of the 
Salvation Army ("Darkest England," p. 210). 

It is announced ("Times," February 20, 1900) that the 
London County Council is about to ask of Parliament an 
increase of its powers, so that it may buy up land beyond its 
own limits, with a view of erecting some such industrial 
villages. We must therefore wait to see the result of this 
new experiment. We may be quite certain that it will prove 
to bring with it dangers and evils at present unsuspected. 


but I think that the gains will be greater than the losses. 
The country village will be as much better than the barrack 
as the barrack is better than the narrow and stinking court. 
It is hoped that when the advantages of living in the coun- 
try are understood the men will not mind living at a dis- 
tance from their work. At the same time, the experiment 
must be on a very large scale, and if it fails will prove very 
costly. Objections are taken to the municipality acting as 
builder and landlord; it is urged that private companies 
might take up the question; but the experiment made by a 
private company, if it fails, costs the whole capital advanced 
by private persons, whereas if the experiment of the County 
Council fails it will be only the loss of the ratepayers' money. 
Whatever is done must be done quickly; mischiefs incalcu- 
lable are inflicted upon the children by the present over- 
crowding. To neglect it is to make the evils far worse. 
The remedy requires a great mind and a clear vision and 
unlimited powers. As yet little practical attention has been 
paid to the cry of the houseless and the rack-rented, and to 
the sobs of the children poisoned physically by the air, cor- 
rupt and vitiated, which they have to breathe; poisoned 
morally by evil companionship, starved and cabined mentally 
for want of light and air and sunshine, for want of the breeze 
among the trees and the grass of the meadows and the flow- 
ers of the field and the creatures of the air and of the hedge. 





THE word "submerged" likes me not. I have endeavored 
to find or to invent another and a better word. So far 
without success. The word must define the class. It is the 
unhappy company of those who have fallen in the world. 
There are many levels from which one may fall; perhaps 
there are many depths into which one may fall; certainly I 
have never heard of any depth beyond which there was not 
another lower and deeper still. The submerged person, 
therefore, may have been a gentleman and a scholar, an offi- 
cer, a prodigal; or he may have been a tradesman, or a 
working-man, or anything you please; the one essential is 
that he must have stepped out of his own class and fallen 
down below. He is a shipwrecked mariner on the voyage 
of life, he is a pilgrim who has wandered into the dark and 
malarious valleys beside the way. We have read in the 
annals of luckless voyages how those who escaped with their 
lives wandered along the seashore, living by the shell-fish they 
could pick up, moving on when there were no more mussels, 
huddled together at night in the shelter of a rock for warmth. 
We know and are familiar with their tales of misery. As 
these shipwrecked mariners on the cold and inhospitable 
coast, so are the unfortunates whom we call submerged; in 
a like misery of cold and starvation do they drag on a 
wretched existence. 

They have no quarter or. district of their own; we come 



upon them everywhere. In the wealthy quarters there are 
courts and alleys, lanes and covered ways, where they find J 

shelter at night; they slouch along aimlessly, with vacant 
faces, in the most fashionable streets; they stand gazing 
with eyes which Jiave no longer any interest or expression ^ 

upon a shop-window whose contents would provide a dozen 
of them with a handsome income for life ; in the warm sum- 
mer evenings you may see them taking up their quarters for 
the night on the seats outside St. James's Park ; if you walk 
along the Thames embankment you will see them sitting 
and lying in corners sheltered from the wind; they seek out 
the dry arches if they can find any, happy in the chance of 
finding them; they sit on door-steps and sleep there until 
the policeman moves them on; wherever a night watchman, 
placed on guard over an open excavation, hangs up his red 
lamp and lights his fire in the workman's grate you will find 
one or two of the submerged crouching beside the red coals ; 
the watchmen willingly allow them their share of warmth 
and light. If you are walking in the streets late at night 
you will presently pass one of them creeping along looking « 

about for a crust or a lump of bread. Outside the Board- 
schools, especially, these windfalls are to be found, thrown 
away by the children; it is a sig^ that food is cheap and 
work is abundant when one sees lumps of bread thrown into 
the gutter. These are the gifts of fortune to the submerged ; 
the day has brought no jobs and no pence, not even the penny 
for a bare shelter with the Salvation Army; fate, relentless, 
has refused to hands willing to work — ^perhaps unwilling, 
for the submerged are sometimes incapable of work; like 
their betters, they have nerves. But in the night under the 
gas-lamps there are the gifts of the great goddess. Luck — the 
children's lumps of bread lying white in the lamplight on 
kerb or door-step. * 

Or, again, if you are in the streets early in the morning, 
at the hour when the cheap restaurants set out upon the 


pavement their zinc boxes full of the refuse and unspeak- 
able stuff of yesterday, you will find the person submerged 
busy among this terrible heap ; he finds lumps of food, broken 
crusts, bones not stripped clean; he turns over the contents 
with eager hands ; he carries off, at last, sufficient for a sub- 
stantial meal. 

One would hardly expect to find history occupying her- 
self with a class so little worthy of her dignity. Yet have 
I found some account of the submerged in the eighteenth 
century. They did not prowl about the streets at night nor 
did they search the dust-box in the morning, because there 
were no crusts of costly wheaten bread thrown away, and 
there were no dust-boxes. But they had their customs. 
And the following seems to have been the chief resource 
of the class. 

There were no police walking about the streets day and 
night; there were night watchmen, who went home about 
five in the morning; then for an hour, before the workmen 
turned out on their way to the shops, the streets were quite 
deserted and quiet. At that hour the submerged had their 
chance; they were the early vultures that hovered over the 
City before the dawn ; they went out on the prowl, carrying 
lanterns in the winter; they searched the streets; where the 
market carts had passed there were droppings of vegetables 
and fruit, there were bones thrown out into the streets, there 
were things dropped ; drunken men were lying on door-steps, 
stretched out on the pavement between the posts, or propped 
up against the walls ; the night watchmen paid no attention to 
these common objects of the night, the helplessly drunk; they 
cleared out their pockets of money no doubt, otherwise they 
left them. But the prowlers, after another investigation of 
the pockets, carried off everything portable — ^hat, wig, neck- 
tie, ruffles, boots, coat, everything. The cold air quickened 
the recovery of the patient ; when he came to his senses and 
sat up he was ready to repent, not in sackcloth, but in shirt- 


sleeves. Later on in the day the prowlers inveigled chil- 
dren into back courts, stripped them of their fine frocks, 
cut off their long curls, and so let them gp. Or they lay in 
wait for a drunken man and led him carefully to some quiet 
and secluded spot, where he could be stripped of all. But 

Salvation Army Shelter. 

the submerged of George III were a ruder and a rougher 
folk than those of Queen Victoria. 

The submerged do not, as a rule, give trouble to the 
police, nor are they a terror to the householder; they do 
not rob, they do not brawl, they do not get up riots, they 
do not "demonstrate," they endure in quiet. Their misery 
might make them dangerous if they were to unite; but they 


cannot unite, they have no leader, they have no prophet; 
they want nothing except food and warmth, they accuse 
nobody, they are not revolutionaries; they are quite aware 
— those of them who have any power of thought left — ^that 
no change in the social order could possibly benefit them. 
They live simply, each man clothed with his own misery as 
with a gaberdine. And they know perfectly well that their 
present wretchedness is due to themselves and their own 
follies and their own vices. They have lost whatever spirit 
of enterprise they may once have possessed; in many cases 
long habits of drink have destroyed their power of will and 

Many causes have made them what they are. As many 
men, so many causes. They cannot be reduced to a class ; they 
come from every social station — ^many of them are highly 
educated men, bom of gentle-folk, some of county families, 
some of the professional classes. Their tale of woe, if you 
ask it, is always the lamentation of the luckless; it should 
be the lamentation of a sinner. Incompetence, especially that 
kind of incompetence which belongs to an indolent habit of 
mind and body; the loss of one situation after another, the 
throwing away of one chance after the other, the shrinking 
from work either bodily or mental, which grows upon a man 
until for very nervousness he is unable to do any work; 
the worn-out patience of friends and relations, drink — ^always 
drink ; dismissal which involves the loss of character, the habit 
begun in boyhood of choosing always the easier way; sick- 
ness, which too commonly drives a man out of work and 
sends him on to the streets in search of casual jobs; crime 
and the gaol — ^all these causes work in the same direction; 
they reduce the unfortunate victim to the condition of hope- 
lessness and helplessness which is the note of the submerged. 

I think that where the case is one in which the former 
social standing was good the most common cause is loss of 
character. This does not mean, necessarily, the taint of dis- 


honesty. It means, in many cases, simply incompetence. 
How shall a clerk, a shop assistant, find another place when 
he can only give reference to a former employer who can 
say nothing in his praise? He goes down, he takes a worse 
place with lower pay, he continues in his incompetence, he 
is again dismissed. He falls lower still. In any country 
it is a terrible thing for a young man to lose his character; 
it is fatal in a country where laborers of his kind, at the only 
work he can do, are redundant; while men with good char- 
acter can be obtained, who will employ a man without a 
character ? For such a man it would seem as if a new coun- 
try — 2i new name — were the only chance left for him. He 
tries the new country. Alas! Incompetence is no more 
wanted there than at home. If, as sometimes happens, such 
an one yields to the temptation that is always before the 
penniless and falls into crime, it is no longer a descent along 
the familiar easy slope; it is a headlong plunge which the 
unfortunate man makes, once for all, into the Male-bolge of 
the submerged. 

I was once in a London police court looking on at the 
day's cases which were brought up one after the other before 
the magistrate. The drunk and disorderly came first; these 
were soon dismissed; indeed, there is a terrible monotony 
about them ; the reporters do not take the trouble even to lis- 
ten or to make a note of them unless the prisoner is a man 
of some note. Then followed the case of a young man, 
apparently four- or five-and-twenty years of age. He was 
described as a clerk; he was dressed in the uniform of his 
craft, with a black coat and a tall hat ; it was the cold, early 
spring, and he had no overcoat or wrapper or collar or 
neckerchief of any kind, and he was barefooted. The sight 
of him filled one with a kind of terror. Now, the face of 
that poor wretch told its own story ; it was a handsome face, 
with regular features, light hair, and blue eyes. As a boy 
he must have been singularly attractive; as a child, lovely. 


But now the face was stamped and branded with the mark 
of one who has always followed the Easy Way; his weak 
mouth, his shifting eyes, the degradation of what had once 
promised to be a face of such nobility and beauty, proclaimed 
aloud his history. I could see the boy at school who would 
do no more work than he was obliged to do ; the young clerk 
at five shillings a week, who would do no more than he was 
bidden, and that without intelligence or zeal ; the lad rising, 
, as even the junior clerk rises, by seniority; the billiard-room, 

the public house, the wasted evenings, the betting, the evil 
companions, the inevitable dismissal for incompetence, the 
difficulty of finding another place, the influence of friends 
not too influential, the second dismissal, the tramp up thou- 
sands of stairs in search of a vacant desk where character 
was not required, borrowing of small sums, with faithful 
promises of repayment, the consequent loss of friends, the 
alienation even of brothers, the inevitable destitution, the 
pawning of all but the barest necessaries of clothes, even at 
-^ last parting with his boots — ^all this was revealed by the mere 

aspect of the man. He was charged with stealing a pair 
of boots to replace those which he had pawned. There was 
no shame in his face; the thing had come at last which he 
had felt coming so long. It was not shame, it was a look of 
resigned hopelessness; he was become the foot-ball of fate, 
he was henceforth to be kicked about here and there as fate 
in her gamesome moods might choose. Practically there 
was no defense; he had nothing to say; he only shook his 
head ; the magistrate was lenient because it was a first offense. 
Leniency in such a case is only apparent, though the magis- 
trate means well, for a fortnight in prison is as ruinous for 
the rest of a man's life as a twelvemonth. So he stepped 
out of the dock, and presently the wheels of Black Maria — 
sometimes called the Queen's omnibus — rolled out into the 
street with the day's freight of woe and retribution. 

I met this poor creature afterward ; I came upon him car- 


rying a pair of boards; I stumbled over him as he sat in 
the sun in St. James's Park, monumental in shabbiness; I 
met him once or twice shambling about the Embankment, 
which was his favorite boulevard — a place where no work 
can be picked up, and for that reason, I suppose, dear to him. 
London is a very big city, but such men as this have their 
haunts; they are too weak of will to wander far from the 
way of habit ; it requires an effort, a moment of energetic de- 
cision, to change his daily walk from the Embankment to the 
Strand. I never saw him, except on that one occasion when 
he was a sandwich man, doing any kind of work; I never 
saw him begging; I never saw him in a shelter at night; I 
know not how he lived or how, if ever, he procured a renewal 
of his rags when they fell off him. Presently it occurred 
to me that I had not seen him lately. I looked about for 
him. By this time I took an interest in the case; had he 
asked me for money I should have given him some, I dare 
say. Why not? The indiscriminate giving of alms is, one 
knows and has been taught for years, a most mischievous 
thing; but in this case money will not lift a man out of the 
slough, nor will it plunge him deeper; give him money and 
he will devour it ; refuse him money and he will go on just in 
the same way. But I have never seen him since, and I am 
sure that in some workhouse infirmary he lay lingering 
awhile with pneumonia, which carries off most of the half- 
fed and the ill-clad, and that he died without murmuring 
against his fate, resigned and hopeless. I dare say that those 
who composed his limbs in death admired the singular beauty 
of the face. For lo! a marvel — ^when the debased soul, 
which has also debased the face, goes out of the body, the 
face resumes the delicacy and the nobility for which it was 
originally intended. 

Another case of a submerged. I knew something of the 
man, not the man himself. He began very well; he was 
clever in some things; he could play more than one instru- 


ment, he was a companionable person; he got into the civil 
service by open competition very creditably; for some ten 
or twelve years he lived blamelessly. It was known by his 
friends that he was always thirsty; he would drink large 
quantities of tea for breakfast; he drank pints of cold water 
with his pipe. Presently his friends began to whisper — 
things. Then openly there were said — things. Then I was 
told that A. A. had been turned out of his place, and that 
meant a good many — things. For certain reasons I was in- 
terested in the man. One evening in July I strolled in St. 
James's Park after dinner; the air was balmy; the benches 
of the park were nearly full. I found a vacant seat 
and sat down. Beside me was a youngish man ; by the light 
of the gas-lamp I observed that the brim of his hat was 
broken, and that in other respects rags were his portion. He 
entered into conversation by a question as to some race- 
horse, to which I pleaded ignorance. He then began to talk 
about himself. It was„ as I have said above, the lamentation 
of the luckless. "One man," he said, "may steal a pig, 
another may not look over the garden-wall. I, sir, am what I 
am; in rags, as you see; penniless, or I should not be here; 
tormented by thirst, and no means of procuring a drink. I, 
sir, am the man who looked over the garden-wall." He 
went on; suddenly the story became familiar to me; he was 
the man of whose decline and fall I had heard so much. 

He had not abandoned his grand air, for which he was 
always distinguished. I offered him a cigar. He examined 
it critically. "A brand of this kind," he said, "I keep in 
tea for three years." He lit it. "A gentleman," he re- 
minded me, "is not lowered by bad luck, nor is he disgraced 
by having to do work belonging to the service — ^the menial 
service. The other day I was a sandwich man — in Bond 
Street. I met my brother face to face. I have a brother — " 
the poor man is a member of the Travelers and a few other 
clubs of that kind. "He will do nothing for me. At sight 


of me he winced; he changed color. Do you think I 
flinched? Not so, sir. The disgrace was his; he felt it." 
And so on ; he was instructive. I believe his friends shipped 
him off somewhere. 

Some of the submerged contrive to make their own live- 
lihood; they are even able, as a rule, to take a bed at the 
Sixpenny Hotel. One of these institutions has, indeed, the 
credit of being the chosen haunt of the brokendown gentle- 
men. Here they are all broken down together ; to meet here, 
to cook their own suppers, to rail at fortune like kings de- 
posed is an agreeable diversion. At least they talk with 
each other in the language to which they are accustomed. 
And there is always something about the manner of the 
brokendown "swell" which distinguishes him from those 
of lower beginnings. There is something of the old gal- 
lantry left ; he does not sit down and hang a head and moan 
like the poor bankrupt small trader; so long as the sixpence 
is forthcoming he is not unhappy. 

It is a strange company; they were once soldiers, sports- 
men, billiard players, betting men, scholars, journalists, 
poets, novelists, travelers, physicians, actors. One of the 
submerged of whom I heard had been a reader of some 
learned language at one of our universities; another was a 
clergyman — not, if the story about him was true, quite ad- 
mirable professionally ; both these gentlemen, however, found 
it best, after a time, to exchange the Sixpenny Hotel for the 
workhouse, where they are at least free from the anxiety 
about the sixpence. 

One more illustration of the submerged who has been a 
gentleman. I met him once, only once. It was in Oxford 
Street ; he was standing before the window of a very artistic 
and attractive shop — a china and glass shop. The window 
was most aesthetically "dressed" ; it contained, besides Vene- 
tian glass and other glass of wondrous cunning and beauty, 
a small dinner-table set out with flowers, glass, silver plate. 


costly china of new design, some white napery, and those 
pretty Httle lights — called fairy lights — which were a few 
years ago fashionable. 

The man was unmistakably a gentleman; his dress be- 
trayed his extreme poverty; his boots showed a solution of 
continuity between the upper leather and the sole ; his closely 
buttoned coat was frayed, his round hat was broken, appa- 
rently he had no shirt; he certainly had no collar; his red 
cotton handkerchief was tied round his neck; the morning 
was cold and raw, a morning in November. Evidently, a 
gentleman. The poor wretch was looking at the dinner- 
table; it reminded him of mess nights, of dinner parties, of 
clubs, of evenings abroad and at home, before he fell; of 
what else did that dinner-table remind him — of what light 
laughter and music of women's voices, while as yet he was 
worthy to sit among them? One knows not. He was ab- 
sorbed in the contemplation of the table; as he gazed his 
face changed strangely ; it went back, I know not how many 
years ; it became the face of a hawk, the face of a man keen 
and masterful. How did he fall? How came the look of 
mastery and command to go out of his face? 

I spoke to the man. I touched him on the arm ; he started ; 
I pointed to the fairy lights; "Do you remember," I asked 
him, "when those things came in?" "It was about ten years 
ago," he said, without hesitation. Then the present moment 
reasserted itself. He became again one of the submerged. 
"Lend me half a crown," he said. "On Monday morning I 
will meet you here, and I' 11 return it." On the following 
Monday morning I repaired to the china and glass shop. 
My friend, however, had forgotten his appointment. Faith in 
my own expectations would have been shaken had he kept it. 
I have only to add that he took the half crown as one gentle- 
man accepts, say, a cigar, from another. "Thanks, thanks," 
he said, airily, and he moved away with the bearing of one 
who is on his way to his club. It was pleasant to observe the 


momentary return to the old manner, though the contrast 
between the rags and the manner presented an incongruity 
that could not pass unobserved, and I regret to this day that 
I did not invite him to a chop-house and to a statement from 
his own point of view as to the turning of fortune's wheel. 

I have said that the submerged do not, as a rule, give 
much trouble to the police. They may have had their lapses 
from virtue, their indiscretions, but they are not habitual 
criminals. The way of the latter, so long as he keeps out 
of prison, is much more comfortable; for transgressors the 
prison in which they pass most of their time is hard, but the 
intervals of freedom are often times of plenty and revelry. 
The submerged have no such intervals. The common rogue 
is generally a brazen braggart, while the submerged is timid 
and ashamed. Of course, too, it is by no means a common 
thing that he has been a gentleman; in East London there 
are over ten thousand of the homeless and the wanderers, 
loafers, and the casuals, with some criminals. I have before 
me twelve cases investigated by an officer of the Salvation 
Army. The men belonged to the following trades : confec- 
tioner, feather-bed dresser, tailor, riverside laborer, sawyer, 
distiller, accountant in a bank, builder's laborer, plumber's 
laborer, carman, match-seller, slater. Out of the twelve, one, 
you see, had been a gentleman. The cause of destitution 
was variously stated : age — it is very difficult in some trades 
to resist the pressure of the young; cataract in one eye; 
inability to find work, though young and strong; cut out by 
machinery; last place lost, by his own fault — an admission 
reluctantly made and not explained; arm withered; brought 
up to no trade, and so on. 

As for their attempts to get work, the odd job appears to 
be the most common, if the most hopeless. It will be seen 
from the cases given above that the men can no longer get 
work at their own trades; now, they know no other; what, 
then, are they to try? One cannot expect much resource 


in an elderly man who has been making confectionery all 
his life, when he has lost his place and his work; nor in a 
feather-bed dresser, when feather-beds are no longer made. 
The former can do nothing in the world except make sugar 
plums according to certain rules of the mystery; the latter 
can do nothing but "dress" feather-beds. The ignorance and 
helplessness of our craftsmen outside their own branch of 
work are astonishing. So that the run after the odd job 
is explained. There is nothing else for them to try. A 
great many working hands are dock laborers, and fight every 
day for the chance of being taken on ; but a man advanced in 
years, with the sight of one eye gone or with a withered 
arm — "what chance has he of getting employment? 

Sometimes they try to sell things — boot-laces and useful 
odds and ends. But capital is wanted, a few shillings that 
can be locked up, and the returns are deplorable. Some- 
times they try matches ; the man with the "box o' lights" is 
busy on Sundays and holidays outside the railway station or 
at the stopping places of omnibus or tram; I believe that 
threepence or so represents the average daily profit to be 
made in this branch of commerce. A few try to sell news- 
papers, but they are cut out by the boys who run and bawl 
and force their "specials" on the public. Newspaper selling 
in the streets is only good when one has a popular "pitch." 
For instance, at Piccadilly Circus, where the stream of life 
runs full and strong, a news-vender must do very well, but 
such "pitches" are rare. Sometimes they offer the latest 
novelty out for one penny. The trade in "novelties" depends 
on the attractiveness of the wares ; they must be really novel 
to catch the eye, and they must seem desirable. The prin- 
cipal markets for the penny novelties are the kerb of Broad 
Street and that on the north side of Cheapside. There is 
generally a new "novelty" every week, and the ingenuity, 
the resource, the invention of the unknown genius who pro- 
vides it are beyond all praise. When he hits the popular 


taste you may see the dealers selling their pennyworths as 
fast as they can lay them out on their trays. Sometimes 
there is a "frost"; the novelty does not "catch on." Then 
the poor dealer loses his little capital, and what happens to 
the inventor no one knows. 

It is recorded of a certain collector, who spent his whole 
life in making a collection of the penny novelties, that at his 
death his museum, his life's work, was sold for the enormous 
sum of £i2. I suppose he might have found comfort in the 
reflection that there are a great many men whose whole life's 
work would not fetch as many pence. But his soul must 
have felt a certain amount of dejection after so busy a pur- 
suit — ^and one covering so many years — ^to find it valued at 
no more than £12. How many poets, novelists, preachers, 
journalists, could get as much as £12 for their contributions 
to literature? After all, he was above the average, this 

One would think that journalism would offer chances to 
the submerged. Here, at least, is a door always wide open. 
I know of one case in which a man just let out of prison 
met with a singular piece of good luck; he was a man whose 
character was hopelessly gone, and could never be retrieved, 
who had committed frauds and cheats innumerable upon all 
his old companions, whose friends had long since plainly told 
him that nothing, nothing more would be done for him, and 
that no mercy would be shown him in case of further frauds. 
The day came when he was released from prison; he stood 
outside and looked up and down and across the road ; he saw 
a stony-hearted world; amid this multitude of people there 
was not one single person to whom he could turn for help; 
it was a cold, gray morning; he had concocted several little 
schemes of villainy in his cell ; now, in the open air, he real- 
ized that they were hopeless; prison had somewhat reduced 
his strength of mind; he felt that just then he could not sit 
down and work out any one of his schemes ; he saw no pros- 


pect before him but that of a casual loafer in the streets, sub- 
merged for life. 

He turned to the east; he wandered away, he knew not 
where; he had a small sum of money in his pocket, enough 
for a short time. After that, the slouch along the streets. 

Suddenly he came upon a street scene, a short, quick, dra- 
matic scene enacted in a few minutes. It fired his imagina- 
tion; he saw a chance; he bought paper and pen at a sta- 
tioner's shop; he went into a coffee-house, called for a cup 
of coffee and the ink, and wrote a descriptive paper on that 
scene ; when it was done he took it to the office of a great daily 
paper, and asked to see one of the subeditors. His paper 
was read and accepted ; he was told that he might bring more ; 
he did bring more ; he became one of the staff ; he was pres- 
ently sent abroad on the business of that paper. I do not 
know whether he thought fit to tell the editor anything about 
his own record. Well, the man ought to have become one of 
the submerged ; but, you see, he was a scholar and a man of 
imagination; he had been engaged, it is true, in frauds, and 
was morally hopeless and corrupt through and through, but 
he had not lost his power of will ; he had had no experience 
of the disappointments and the step-by-step descent which 
rob the submerged of his energy and his resource. The ex- 
ample only proves that journalism opens its doors in vain for 
the ordinary submerged who has lost his grasp of realities. 

For those who are strong enough to walk about the streets 
at an even pace for a great many hours a day the sandwich 
offers a tolerably safe means of living. Remember, how- 
ever, that your truly submerged very often, by reason of age 
and infirmities, — ^some physical weakness generally appears 
after a time to aggravate the misery, — cannot undergo the 
fatigue of carrying the boards all day. If, however, the 
strength is there the work can generally be found at a shilling 
or one shilling and twopence a day. It is work which en- 
tirely suits any man who has left off trying. At the same 



time, it is a help to the young man who for the moment may 
be down on his luck. For the former it means simply the 
fatigue of walking about for so many hours on end. It is 
interesting to walk slowly along the pavement while the sin- 
gle file of sandwich men pass along, one after the other. 
They never talk, there is no exchange of jokes, they never 
chaff the workmen or the girls or the lads or the drivers who 
threaten to run over them ; on the other hand, no one chaffs 
them; they are by common consent held sacred, as men in 
the world but not of the world. Some of them carry a pipe 
between their lips, but merely as a habit ; it is an empty pipe ; 
there is no speculation in their faces ; they manifest no inter- 
est in anything ; there may be a police row and a fight, there 
may be a horse down, the sandwich man pays no attention ; 
he looks neither to the right nor to the left; the show that 
he advertises is not for himself; the wares exposed in the 
shop-windows are not for him to buy ; the moving panorama, 
the procession of active and eager life along which he marches 
is nothing to him; he takes no longer any interest in any- 
thing; he is like the hermit, the anchorite, the recluse — ^he is 
dead to the world; he is without friends, without money, 
without work, without hope ; his mind has nothing to occupy 
it; he thinks of vacant space; he walks in his sleep; he is 
comatose; if he lifts his eyes and looks upon the world it 
must be in wonder that his own figure is not in its proper 
place, its old place — it ought to be there. Why is it not? 
How did he get into the gutter, one of a line in single file, 
with a board in front of him and a board behind him? 
Newsboys shout their latest; the shops light up till every 
street is a fairyland of brightness; the carriages go up and 
down. To all the sights around him, to the meaning of the 
show and to the dance of life, which is so often the dance 
of death, the sandwich man remains indifferent. He has 
nothing left of all the joys and toys and dreams and vanities 
of the world ; the past is a blurred memory on which he will 




not dwell if he can help it; there is no future for him, only 
the day's tramp, the shilling at the end of it; fivepence will 
give him warmth, light, a bed, and a modicum of food; 
eightpence, or, if he is lucky, tenpence, must find him food, 
drink, and tobacco for the following day, with some means 
of keeping the mud and water out of his boots. 

A small contingent of the submerged is formed by the men 
who, not being habitual and hardened criminals, have been in 
prison and have not only found employment difficult and 
even impossible in consequence of a misfortune which many 
worse than themselves escape, but have returned to the world 
broken down by the terrible discipline of an English prison. 
The prison receives a man; it turns out a machine, an 
obedient machine, as obedient as the dog which follows at 
heel: it obeys cowering; the machine has no self-respect 
left, and no power of initiative; the prison bird can only 
henceforth live in a cage where he is not called upon to earn 
his livelihood or to carry on a trade. I know little about 
prisons in other countries, but I doubt whether any system 
has ever been invented more effective in destroying the man- 
hood of the poor wretches who are subjected to its laws than 
the prison system of Great Britain. There is no sadder sight 
imaginable than the reception of a released prisoner by the 
Salvation Army Refuge for these unfortunate men. Every 
day their officer attends at the prison doors at the hour of 
discharge, and invites the men, as they come out, to the 
refuge. They come in dazed and pale ; the light, the air, the 
freedom, the absence of the man of authority with the keys — 
all together make them g^ddy ; they are received with a wel- 
come and a handshake which make them suspicious ; they 
are invited to sit down and take food; they obey with a 
shrinking readiness which brings a flush of shame to the 
spectator's face. See ; after a little they push the plate away ; 
it is solid food — ^they cannot take it ; they have been so long 
accustomed to gruel that a plate of meat is too much for 


them ; they can neither eat nor talk ; they cannot respond even 
to kindliness; they cannot understand it; the man — the lost 
manhood — has to be built up again. The Salvation Army's 
Helping Hand rescues some; it fails with some; even where 
it fails, some good effect must be left in their minds by the 
show of friendliness and kindness. 

The best place to find the submerged is at one of the shel- 
ters of the Salvation Army. Here they give for fourpence 
a large pot of coffee, tea, or cocoa, with a hunch of bread ; 
it is probably the best meal that the men have had that day ; 
the fourpence also entitles them to a warm and well-lighted 
room with benches and tables, the means of getting a good 
wash and a bed. For a smaller sum the accommodation is 
not so good. Every evening the shelters are quite full; 
every evening there is held that kind of service, with ad- 
dresses, prayers, and the singing of h)mins, which is called 
a Salvation Meeting. Well, the men feel, at last, that they 
are with friends; the lasses with the banjos and the tam- 
bourines, the men in the jerseys who speak to them — ^these 
are not making any money out of them, they are working for 
them, they are taking an immense amount of pains entirely 
on their behalf; I cannot but believe — indeed, I know — ^that 
among this poor wreckage of society their efforts meet with 
the kind of response that is most desired. 

Or, if you can get so far out, there is Medland Hall by 
the riverside at Ratcliffe. It was formerly a Dissenting 
chapel; it is now a free lodging-house. No one pays any- 
thing; there are bunks ranged in lines over the floor — ^they 
are rather like coffins, it is true; these bunks are provided 
with mattresses, and for sheet and blanket with American 
cloth, which can be easily kept clean. I believe that bread 
is also provided. An effort is made to find out a way of 
helping the men to work; the likely young fellows are sent 
to the recruiting sergeants ; some connection has been formed 
with the railway companies for men young and strong. 

The casual ward is a place to which no one will go if he 


can possibly avoid it. This refuge will only receive the 
actual destitute, those who have no money at all ; their rations 
of food are light, to say the least. The allowance for young 
and old, strong and weak, is the same — for breakfast, half a 
pound of gruel and eight ounces of bread; the same for 
supper ; for dinner, eight ounces of bread and an ounce and a 
half of cheese; for drink, cold water. The casual is put 
into a cell by himself and there locked up; in the morning, 
when he ought to be out and looking for work, he is de- 
tained to do stone-breaking or oakum-picking — ^half a ton of 
stone-breaking or four pounds of oakum, a task so heavy 
that it takes him the best part of the day, and he is lucky 
if he is not detained as a punishment for another night and 
day, with a corresponding increase in the task imposed 
upon him. 

One would like to take some of the permanent officials of 
the Local Government Board and set them to the same work 
on the same food. What is the man's crime? Poverty. 
There may be other crimes which have reduced him to this 
condition of destitution, but no questions are asked. It is 
poverty, poverty, nothing but poverty, for which this treat- 
ment is the punishment. I once visited a casual ward; it 
was, I believe, Saturday afternoon. I was shown one cell 
occupied by a woe-begone young country lad ; he was sitting 
alone ; I think he had done his task ; he was to be a prisoner 
till Monday morning — such was the infamy of his poverty. 
Lucky for him if he was not kept over Monday, to pick more 
oakum and to reduce his strength and impair his constitu- 
tion by more starvation on gruel and bread weighed out by 
ounces. With refuges for the destitute where they are 
starved and made to work hard on insufficient food, with 
prisons for the criminal where manhood is crushed and 
strength is destroyed by feeding men on gruel, we support 
bravely the character of a country obedient to the laws of 
God and marching in the footsteps of Christ. 

Such are the submerged — an army of brokendown gen- 


tlemen, ruined professional men, penniless clerks, bankrupt 
traders, working-men who are out of work through age or 
infirmity, victims of drink, ex-prisoners and convicts, but 
not habitual criminals. It is a helpless and a hopeless army ; 
I have said already that this is the note of the submerged. 
We shall see presently what is done for this great body of 
misery. One thing must be remembered. There are lower 
levels than those reached by this army; physicians, clergymen, 
missionaries, journalists, whisper things far worse than can 
be alleged against the submerged. And we have not included 
among them the tramp, that class whose blood is charged 
with restlessness hereditary, who cannot remain long in any 
place, who cannot enter upon steady work, who are driven 
by their restlessness, as by a whip of scorpions, along the 
roads. Not the tramp, nor the sturdy rogue, nor the pro- 
fessional criminal, nor the vile wretches who live by the vilest 
trades, may be numbered among the submerged. They fall 
noiselessly from their place of honor, they live noiselessly in 
their place of dishonor ; they might perhaps be brought back 
to work, but the cases of recovery must be very few in pro- 
portion, because the causes which dragged them down are 
those which prevent them from being dragged up. If any 
physician can give back to the submerged patience, resolu- 
tion, will, courage, hope, he may reclaim them. If that can- 
not be done they must remain as they are. 

My illustration of the submerged seems to have little to 
do with East London. As a fact, there is no respect paid 
to places. When a man has belonged to the West End his 
wandering feet, over which, as over his other actions, the 
patient has no control, carry him about the scenes of his 
former prosperity without his taking any steps to prevent 
it. Old acquaintances recognize him, and pass him by with 
a cold eye which denies the recognition and conceals the 
pity. He himself sees nobody and remembers nobody. In 
the same way a man who belongs by birth and habits to 



East London will remain there after he has come to grief. 
Or, if the former gentleman, for some reason, gets into East 
London and finds out its ways, with the cheap lodgings, the 
shelters, the "ha'penny" cups of cocoa, and the many helping 
hands from which he may get some kind of relief he will stay 
in East London. We need not hesitate about awarding the 
palm of nourishing or starving more or fewer of the sub- 
merged to East or West London. It is enough to know that 
they exist in both quarters, and that, according to statistics, 
there are over ten thousand of them in East London alone. 
If any help can be found for this mass of wreckage let us 
find that help and give it with full hands and in measure over- 
flowing, for indeed of all those who are poor and distressed 
and unhappy the company of the submerged are the most 
wretched. Even if, as is almost always the case, they have 
brought their punishment upon themselves by the folly of 
the prodigal, the weakness of those who take the Easy Way, 
and the wickedness of those who indulge the natural inclina- 
tion to vice, let us not inquire too closely into the record; 
let us still stretch out our hand of help; if we can restore 
some of them — even a few, even one here and there — ^to the 
life of honesty among folk of good repute, we must still leave 
them the shameful memory of the past. That punishment 
we cannot avert; we cannot remove it from them. The 
world will forgave them, but how shall we find that Lethe 
whose waters will enable them to forgive themselves? 
"Arise" — it is easy for the world to say — "thy sins shall no 
longer be imputed to thee for a reproach and a hissing." 
Alas! When the better self returns, how shall that poor 
wretch cease to reproach himself? 





I HAVE SO often insisted that East London must be re- 
garded as a city of many crafts — ^the working-man's city 
— ^that it may seem contradictory to call attention to another 
aspect. That part of East London with which we have been 
most concerned is the densely populated part lying north of 
the river and including all that part west of the river Lea 
as far north as Dalston, Clapton, and Hackney, and east of 
that river, including Bow, Stratford, Walthamstow, Wan- 
stead, Porest Gate, Bromley West, and East Ham and Bark- 
ing. It includes, in a word, very nearly all the ancient vil- 
lages and hamlets whose names may be found upon the 
map. But there is a fringe, and there are extensions. 
When one emerges at last from streets which seem to have 
no end, when the nightmare of a world which is all streets, 
with never a field or an orchard or a hillside left, begins to 
break, when it is cleared away, as an ugly dream by the day- 
light, by the reappearance of trees and large gardens and wide 
roads, then we discover the fringe. Part of Stoke Newing- 
ton, part of Stamford Hill, a small part of Tottenham, part 
of Snaresbrook, belong to the fringe. Here we get roads 
lined with trees, villas with trees in front gardens, modem 
churches built all after the same half-dozen patterns, in true 
proportions, correct and without inspiration; here we get 
windows filled with flowers, and here presently we get houses 
well apart and a wealth of creepers and of flowering shrubs ; 



which means that the breath of the crowded City is left 

But there are further extensions ; the suburbs of East Lon- 
don are not confined within the Hmits of the map of London ; 
they stretch out far afield, they include Chigwell and Ching- 
ford and Theydon Bois, and all the villages round Epping 
Forest. Dotted about everywhere in this extension are stately 
houses with large gardens and grounds, the residences of the 
manufacturers and the employers, not those of the small 
trades of Elast London, where the master is often but one de- 
gree better off than the employee, but those of the factories 
and the works ; theirs is the capital invested ; theirs is the en- 
terprise; theirs the wit and courage which have made them 
succeed; theirs is the wealth. This extension is a delightful 
place in early summer; it is full of trees; there are old 
churches, and there is "the" forest — the people of East 
London always speak of "the" forest, for to them there is 
no other. It is, also, a part of London very little visited; 
it is, to begin with, somewhat inaccessible; one who would 
visit it from the West End has to get first into the City. In 
the next chapter we will discourse on what may be seen by 
the curious who would explore the forest and its surround- 
ings. Let us return to my group of villages. 

To the American, and to most of my own people, the names 
of Stoke Newington, Hackney, Stepney, Mile End, and the 
rest are names and nothing else ; they awaken no more memo- 
ries than a list of Australian or American townships. Let me 
try to endow these names with associations; I would make 
them, if possible, venerable by means of their association 
with those who have gone before. The suburban life of Lon- 
don belongs essentially to the eighteenth and the nineteenth 
centuries. In the former only the wealthy had their country, 
as well as their town, houses; in the latter there have been 
no town houses left in the City at all, and the whole of the 
people who every day carry on their business in the City 
have now their suburban residences. 


The introduction and the development of the suburban life 
effected a revolution in the City. It destroyed the social 
side of the City by the simple process of driving out all the 
people. When the citizens lived over their offices and their 
shops they belonged to a highly sociable and gregarious City, 
its society having no kind of connection with the aristocratic 
side of the west, and its gregarious nature preserving due 
respect and distinction to City rank and position. Every 
man had his weekly club and his nightly tavern. Here, with 
his friends of the same street or the same ward, he discussed 
the affairs of the day. He was a politician of advanced and 
well-defined views; he confirmed, by many a commonplace 
uttered with solemnity, his own and his friends' prejudices; 
the use of conversation, when men read nothing more than 
was provided by an elementary press, was mainly the develop- 
ment and the maintenance of healthy prejudice. This was 
all the amusement that the good man desired — ^how great was 
the interval between two of John Gilpin's pleasure jaunts? 
"Twice ten tedious years!" Wonderful! To be sure, he 
had his City company, and its dinners were events to be 
remembered. The City madams had their card-parties; 
for the elite there was the City Assembly. For those 
who wanted pleasure there were the gardens — ^Vauxhall, 
Ranelagh, Marylebone, Bagnigge Wells, any number of 

The daily work, the business done on 'change, the count- 
ing-house, the shop, all this formed part and parcel of the 
family life; it was not cut off and separated as at present; 
from his counting-house the merchant went to his "parlor" 
— it was under the same roof — ^when dinner was called. And 
all the year round he slept under the same roof over his place 
of business. 

A hundred and fifty years ago the people began to leave 
the City; the wealthiest merchants went first; then the less 
wealthy; finally the shopkeepers and the clerks; the private 
houses were converted into offices and warehouses and cham- 


bers ; the old City life absolutely vanished. Everything dis- 
appeared; the club, the tavern, the card-parties, the assem- 
bly, the evenings at Vauxhall — all were swept away. The 
life of the City man was cut in two, one half belonging to his 
office in the City, the other to his suburban villa, with the 
night and three or four of the waking hours. He took break- 
fast at eight; he went off after breakfast, catching an early 
omnibus ; he returned at six or seven ; he dined ; he sat for an 
hour or two; he went to bed. No life could be duller; of 
social intercourse the suburban resident had little or none; 
visiting was limited; at rare intervals there were evenings 
with a "little music" ; dances were few and far between ; the 
old circles were broken up and no new ones formed ; the occu- 
pation and social position of neighbors were not known to 
each other. For amusements the girls had their slender stock 
of accomplishments ; the sons, whenever they could, ran up to 
town and got into mischief; and the pere de famille, not 
knowing or suspecting the narrowness and the dullness of his 
life, solemnly sat after dinner with a book in his hand or took 
a hand at cribbage, and went to bed at ten. There were no 
theaters, no evening entertainments, no lectures even, no con- 
certs, no talk of amusements. As the evangelical narrowness 
was widely spread over all the London suburbs, if a young 
man spoke of amusements he was asked if he could recon- 
cile amusement with the working out of his own salvation. 
The church, or the chapel, was in itself the principal recre- 
ation of the ladies. They found in religious emotions the 
excitement and the interest which their narrow round of life 
failed to supply. 

As for the theater, it was natural that, with such views as 
to amusement, it should be regarded with a shuddering hor- 
ror. No young woman who respected herself would be seen 
at a theater. However, it was quite out of the question, 
simply because the theater was inaccessible. 

Such has been the suburban life of London for a hundred 


years, so dull, so monotonous, so destitute of amusement. So 
lived the residents of Hackney, Clapton, and Stoke Newing- 
ton before their quiet dullness was invaded by the over- 
flowing wave — ^irresistible, overwhelming — of the working 

This side of London life deserves to be studied more atten- 
tively; it accounts for a great many recent events and for 
some of the governing ideas of Londoners. This, however, 
is not the place; let it suffice to pay it the tribute of recog- 

It is now fast passing away. New forces are at work; 
the old suburban life is changing; the rural suburb has be- 
come a large town, with its central boulevards, shops, and 
places of resort; there are theaters springing up in all the 
suburbs; there are concerts of good music; there are art 
schools ; there are halls and public dances ; there are late trains 
connecting the suburb with the West End and its amuse- 
ments; there are volunteer corps, bicycle clubs, golf clubs, 
tennis clubs, croquet clubs, amateur dramatic clubs; above 
all, there is the new education for the new woman; what- 
ever else she may do or dare, one thing she will no longer 
do: she will no longer endure to be shut up all day in a 
suburb left to the women and children, and every evening, 
as well as all day, to be kept in the house, with no gaiety, no 
interests, no pursuits, and no companions. In all these ways 
the dull suburban life has been swept away, and a new social 
life, not in the least like that of a hundred years ago, is being 
established and developed. 

Let us pass on to the memories and associations of these 
hamlets. They are of two kinds — ^those which appeal to all 
who belong to this country by descent and inherit our liter- 
ature and call our g^eat men theirs as well, and those which 
appeal to ourselves more than they can be expected to da 
on the other side of the Atlantic. I propose to speak more 
especially of the former class. It will be seen that the memo- 


rtes of the past belong peculiarly to the history of Noncon- 
formity, but I shall be able to connect East London with 
many persons distinguished in literature, art, science, and 

The Street and Old Church Tower, Hackney. 

politics. East London has also its eccentrics. And it has 
its villains. 

Let us, however, consider one or two of these places sepa- 
rately, and note certain things worth visiting in those streets 
where no traveler's foot ever falls. 

Hackney, to begin with, is a very ancient place; the manor 
belonged to the Knights Templars for about two hundred 
years ; a house, now taken down, used to be shown as the 
Templars' Palace. It was an ancient house, but not of the 


thirteenth century : it probably belonged to the reign of Henry 
VIII. On the suppression of the Templars the manor was 
given to the Hospitallers, whose traditional house was also 
shown till about sixty years ago, when it was destroyed. 
This house was also the traditional residence of Jane Shore, 
one of those women who, like Agnes Sorel and Nell Gwynne 
strike the imagination of the people and win their affections. 
Even the grave and serious Sir Thomas More is carried 
away by the beauty and the charm of Jane Shore, while the 
memory of so much beauty and so many misfortunes demands 
a tear from good old Stow. The name of a street — Palace 
Road — ^preserves the memory of the house. 

Standing alone in its vast churchyard crammed with monu- 
ments, mostly illegible, of dead citizens all forgotten long 
ago, stands a monument for which we ought to be deeply 
thankful. They pulled down the old church, but they pre- 
served the tower. It is a tower of singular beauty, the one 
ancient thing that is left in Hackney. Beneath the feet of 
the visitor on the east side lie the bones of the buried Tem- 
plars, proud knights and magnificent once, beyond the power 
of the bishop, rich and luxurious; with them the dust of 
their successors, the Knights Hospitallers, and now all for- 
gotten together. In another part of the churchyard they 
erected a singularly ugly new church — s. capacious bam. 
Outside the churchyard the tower looks down upon a crowded 
and busy thoroughfare, the full stream of life of this now 
great town of Hackney. Omnibuses and tram-cars run up 
and down the street all day long ; there is an open market all 
the year round, with stalls and wheelbarrows ranged along 
the pavement; a railway arch spans the street, the frequent 
train thunders as it passes the Templars' tower; the people 
throng the place from six in the morning till midnight. In 
many towns I have watched this stream of life flowing beside 
the gray survivals of the past; nobody heeds the ancient 
gate, the tower, the crumbling wall; nobody knows what 


they mean ; the historical associations enter not at all into the 
mind of the average man ; even amid the ruins of Babylon the 
Great his thoughts would be wholly with the present ; he has 
no knowledge or understanding of the past; his own life is all 
in all to him; being the heir of all the ages, he takes his 
inheritance without even knowing what it means, as if it 
grew spontaneously, as if his security of life, his power of 
working undisturbed, the peace of the City, his freedom of 
speech and thought and action were given to mankind like the 
sunshine to warm him and the rain to refresh him. Yet the 
presence of this venerable tower should have some influence 
upon him, if only to remind him that there has been a past. 

One who walks about an English town of any antiquity 
— most of them are of very considerable antiquity — can 
hardly fail of coming from time to time upon a street, a 
place, a square, a court, which takes him back two hundred 
years at least, or even more, to the time of the first George, 
or even to that of Charles II. Sometimes it is a single 
house; sometimes it is a whole street. In this respect, one 
or two of the East London suburbs are richer than those 
of the west or the south because they are older. Hackney 
and Stoke Newington, Stepney and Tottenham, were villages 
inhabited by wealthy people or noble people when the sub- 
urbs of the south were mere rural villages, with farms and 
meadows among their hanging woods. 

There are two such places which I have found in Hackney. 
The first is a wide and open place, not a thoroughfare for 
vehicles ; it may be approached by a foot-path through Hack- 
ney churchyard. It consists of a row of early eighteenth 
century houses on the south side, and another row of houses, 
probably of late eighteenth century, on the north. There is 
nothing remarkable about the place except its peacefulness 
and its suggestion of authority and dignity. You may fre- 
quently find such places adjoining old churches. It is as 
if the calm of the church and the tranquillity of the church- 

An East London Suburb, Overlooking Hackney Marshes. 


yard overflowed into one at least of the streets beside it. 
The clergy who used to live in this claustral repose have left 
this memory of their residence; in such a place we look up 
and down expecting to see a portly divine in black silk cas- 
sock, full silk gown, white Geneva bands, and wig theo- 
logical, step out into the street and magisterially bend his 
steps toward the church where he will catechize the children. 

The second place is also on the east of Hackney church; 
it is a long and narrow winding street, called magnificently 
the High Street, Homerton. It contains three great houses 
and many small ones, mostly old ; in spite of its name, which 
conveys the suggestion of a town, it is a secluded street, re- 
mote from the ways of man; it might be a street of some 
decayed old town, such as King's Lynn or Sandwich; there 
are no children playing in the road or on the door-steps. 
Half way down the street stands a church, the aspect of 
which proclaims it frankly and openly as belonging to the 
reign of the great George, first of the name. It was a place 
of worship simply, without special dedication or presenta- 
tion to any religious body; it has been sometimes a chapel of 
ease to the parish church; sometimes it has been an inde- 
pendent chapel, having a service of its own. There it has 
stood since the year 1723, testifying to possibilities in the 
way of ugliness which would seem like some dream of archi- 
tecture, fantastic and visionary, impossible of achievement. 
Yet it somehow fits in with the rest of the street; the ugli- 
ness of the chapel is not out of harmony with the street, for 
the early eighteenth century claims the houses as well as the 
church. All should be preserved together among the na- 
tional monuments as a historical survival. This, it should 
be said, was how they built in the twenties of the eighteenth 

If we leave Hackney and walk north we find ourselves in 
the village of Clapton, more suburban than Hackney, but 
not yet rural. Qapton lies along the western valley of the 


river Lea, which here winds its way at the bottom of a broad, 
shallow depression. There is one spot — ^before the place was 
built over there were many spots — where one may stand and, 
in the summer, when the sunshine lights up the stream, gjaze 
upon the green meadows, the mills, the rustic bridges, the 
high causeways over the marshes, and the low Essex hills 
beyond. The Essex hills are always far away; there is al- 
ways one before the traveler; if he stands on an eminence he 
sees them, like gentle waves of the heaving ocean, across 
other valleys, and I would not affirm that this is more lovely 
than any other; indeed, one knows many valleys which are 
deeper and more picturesque, planted with nobler woods, 
shadowed by loftier hills. Yet look again. You remember 

the lines — 

Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood 
Stand dressed in living green : 
So to the Jews old Canaan stood, 
While Jordan rolled between. 

Mark how exactly the view fits the lines, and how the lines 
fit the view. This is as it should be, for good old Isaac 
Watts stood often here and gazed upon that scene ; the swell- 
ing flood was the winding river Lea; the sweet fields lay 
before him in living green. That is why I have brought 
you to this place. Dr. Watts might have stood here at an- 
other season, when a low, white mist hung over the sweet 
fields and obscured the swelling flood, and when the Chris- 
tian knew not what lay between him and the everlasting hills 
beyond, where he fain would be at rest. 

He lived not at Clapton, but at Stoke Newington, on the 
west of Clapton. If we could have seen this suburb sevent}'^ 
years ago! But the place is overgrown and overcrowded; 
workmen's houses cover its gardens like a tangle of ugly 
weeds. Still there is one place left which it will please you 
to visit; on the map of 1830 it is the only street in the vil- 


lage. It is called Church Street ; you enter it from the high 
road running north ; it promises at the outset to be common, 
mean, and without dignity or character. Patience I we pass 
through the mean part and we emerge upon a Street Beauti- 
ful. It consists of houses built of that warm red brick which. 


as Ruskin has pointed out, grows richer in color with age; 
they are houses of the early eighteenth century with porches 
and covered with a wealth of creepers; the street has associa- 
tions of which I will speak presently. Meantime, it is delight 
enough merely to stand and look upon it The street ends 
with two churches. Happier than Hackney, Stoke Newing- 
ton has been able to build a new church, and has not been 
obliged to pull down the old one. You see the new church ; 
it is in the favorite style of our time, perhaps as favorable 
a specimen as can be found; in a word, a large, handsome, 
well-proportioned church. It was good that such a church 
should be built, if only to show that when Stoke Nevnngton 


passed from a small rural village to a great town it did not 
outgrow its attachment to the Anglican faith. The old 
church could no longer accommodate the people; a new 
one therefore was built, a' church urban, belonging to a 
great population beside the other. The old church is not 
dwarfed by the new; happily, the broad road lies between; 
it is a charming and delightful village church, standing 
among the trees and monuments of its churchyard. It has 
been patched, repaired, enlarged ; it is, I dare say, a thing of 
patchwork — an incongruous church; yet one would not part 
with a single patch or the very least of its incongruities. 
There is Perpendicular work in it, and Decorated work ; there 
is also nondescript work. They did well to keep it standing ; 
it is a venerable monument; its spire is much humbler than 
that of its splendid successor, still it points to heaven; it 
has what the other will never have, the bones of the villagers 
for two thousand years; and still, to admonish the men of 
to-day as of yesterday and the day before, over the porch 
hangs the dial, with the motto, "Ab Alto" — "From on High/' 
that is, "cometh Safety, cometh Wisdom, cometh Hope" 
in the language of the ancient piety. 

I have spoken of the intimate connection of these villages 
with Nonconformity. The Nonconformist cause was very 
strong among the better class of London merchants during 
the hundred and fifty years from 1650 to 1800. Hackney 
and other places in this part of the London suburbs are occu- 
pied to a large extent by their country houses. When the 
Act of Uniformity was passed and the Nonconforming min- 
isters were ejected, many of them were received by the mer- 
chants of London in their country houses, and when the Con- 
venticle Act of 1663 forbade the Nonconformists to frequent 
any place of worship other than the parish church, it was in 
their private houses at Hackney and other suburbs that the 
merchants were able, unmolested, to worship after their own 


Before this, however, there had been Puritan leaders in 
the place. Two of them were regicides. On the east of 
the tower in Hackney churchyard stood until recently a 
chapel or mortuary chamber built by one of the Rowe family 
an(J called the Rowe Chapel. There was a Sir Thomas Rowe 
(or Roe), who was Lord Mayor of London in 1568; he mar- 
ried the sister of Sir Thomas Gresham, who founded the 
Royal Exchange ; his son was also lord mayor in his time i his 
grandson. Sir Henry Rowe, built this chapel. Among the 
descendants was one Owen Rowe, citizen and haberdasher, a 
fierce partizan — in those days every one was a partizan and 
every one was fierce. He was colonel of the Green Regiment 
for the Parliament, so that he could fight as well as argue. 
Owen Rowe, unfortunately for himself, was one of those who 
took a leading part in the trial and execution of the King, 
being a signatory to the warrant for that execution. After 
the Restoration he surrendered, and by an act of clemency, of 
which Charles was sometimes capable, he was not executed, 
but sentenced to imprisonment in the Tower of London for 
the rest of his days. He died in the December following, 
and was buried in this chapel. 

The other regicide of Hackney was John Okey, one of the 
Root and Branch men. He was a very turbulent Parliamen- 
tarian; he was of humble origin, beginning, it is said, as a 
drayman; he had no education, but he developed military 
genius of a kind and became a colonel of cavalry under Crom- 
well. After the Restoration he fled to Germany, where he 
might have continued in security to the end of his days, but 
being tempted to venture into Holland was there arrested 
by the English minister. Sir George Downing, and brought 
over to England with two other regicides. Miles Corbet and 
John Barkstead. Pepys records the event. It is astonish- 
ing that Sir George Downing should have done this, since 
he owed everything he had in the world to the favor of 
Cromwell. However, it was done, and on March 16, 1662, 


Pepys says that the pink Blackmore landed the three pris- 
oners at the Tower. He adds that the Dutch were a long- 
while before they consented to let them go, and that "all the 
world takes notice of Sir George Downing as a most un- 
grateful villain for his pains." A month later, on April 19th, 

The Old Church, Stoke Newiogton. 

Pepys goes to Aldgate and stands "at the comer shop, the 
draper's," to see the three drawn on their way to execution 
at Tyburn. "They all looked very cheerful and all died de- 
fending what they did to the King to be just." While at 
Hackney, Okey lived in a house called Barber's Bam, for- 
merly the residence of Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of 
Lennox, and mother of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary 
Queen of Scots, a curious little fact which connects Hackney 
with Queen Victoria, Darnley's descendant. The regicide's 
estate was confiscated, but his widow got permission to retain 
Barber's Barn, where she lived till her death. Okey himself 
was buried somewhere in Hackney churchyard. 

Let us turn to more pleasing associations. In the village 


of Hackney during the Commonwealth there lived a certain 
Captain Woodcock. Among his friends was the Protec- 
tor's Latin secretary, John Milton, a person of very great 
consideration. John Milton in 1656 was a widower, but he 
was not a man who could live without the society of a wife. 
Captain Woodcock's daughter, Catharine, pleased the Latin 
secretary; they were married on November 12, 1656, and she 
died on October 17th in the following year. 

But there are other Cromwellian associations with Hack- 
ney and Stoke Newington. The American visitor to Lon- 
don would do well to give a day to a quiet ramble in this 
quarter, once so sturdy in its Puritanism and independence. 

Leading out of Church Street, Stoke Newington, there is 
a place called Fleetwood Street. This street covers the site 
of an Elizabethan house which was once the residence of 
Colonel Fleetwood, Cromwell's son-in-law. His second 
wife, Bridget Cromwell, however, did not live in this house^ 
because Fleetwood got it, after her death, with his third wife. 
Lady Hartopp. He was left unmolested by the government 
at the Restoration, and died in this house in 1692. He lies 
buried in the Nonconformist cemetery of Bunhill Fields. 

Another member of the Cromwell family. Major Crom- 
well, was a resident of this quarter. He was the son of 
Henry, and the grandson of the Protector. He married, in 
1686, Hannah, eldest daughter of Benjamin Hewling, whose 
sons suffered for joining Monmouth. One of her children, 
at least, was born at Hackney. This was Richard, who be- 
came an attorney and solicitor in chancery. It is pleasant to 
record that when this Richard married the wedding was sol- 
emnized in the chapel of Whitehall, in memory of his great 
grandfather's occupation of the palace. 

I have already mentioned Isaac Watts as a resident in 
this part of London. He was born at Southampton in 1674. 
At the age of sixteen he was placed under the care of the 
Rev. Thomas Rowe of London, and chose the calling of a 


Nonconformist minister. For five years he was tutor in the 
family of Sir John Hartopp, Colonel Fleetwood's stepson, at 
Stoke Newington; he there became acquainted with Sir 
Thomas Abney, whilom Lord Mayor of London. He 
preaciied for ten years in London, under the Rev, Dr. Chaun- 
cey. Then an attack of fever prostrated him, and he was 
obliged to give up preaching altogether for the rest of his 

A Street in Stoke Newington. 

life. He was invited by Sir Thomas Abney to his house at 
Theobald's, where he stayed till Sir Thomas's death. He 
then removed with Lady Abney to her house at Stoke New- 
ington, where he remained an honored guest, or rather one 
of the family, until his death in 1748. He was a painter as 
well as a poet, and until the house was pulled down certain 
paintings on the walls were shown as his. 

A more sturdy and combative Nonconformist was Daniel 
Defoe, also a resident of Stoke Newington. The site of his 
house survives in a small street named after him. He was 
bom at Cripplegate, just outside the walls of London. He 


was sent to school at Newington Green, so that he was more 
or less connected with this quarter all his life. The school 
was kept by one Murton, and among his school-fellows was 
Samuel Wesley, father of John and Charles. Defoe came to 
live in Stoke Newington early in the eighteenth century. It 
was here that he wrote "Robinson Crusoe" and his novels. 
His house has long been pulled down, but a large part of his 
garden-wall still stands. 

Matthew Henry, the commentator, lived at Hackney for 
some time. Among Nonconformists we must not forget Mrs. 
Barbauld. Her husband, Rougemont Barbauld, of French 
descent, was Unitarian minister at Newington Green. Un- 
fortunately, his mental powers declined, and in a fit of insan- 
ity he threw himself, or fell, into the New River. Mrs. Bar- 
bauld's brother. Dr. Aikin, lived also at this time at Stoke 
Newington. Mrs. Barbauld removed to his house and died 
there. She is buried in the churchyard of the old church. 
There are many better poets than Mrs. Barbauld, but her 
memory should survive for one little scrap in which for once 
she is inspired, and speaks, as a poet should, out of the full- 
ness of heart common to all humanity. 

" Life ! we have been long together 
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather j 
'T is hard to part when friends are dear, — 
Perhaps 't will cost a sigh, a tear ; 
Then steal away, give little warning, 
Choose thine own time ; 

Say not ' Good night,' but in some brighter clime 
Bid me * Good morning.' " 

Also in Church Street, Stoke Newington, lived Isaac Dis- 
raeli, author of the "Curiosities of Literature" and the 
"Quarrels and Calamities of Authors." This estimable and 
amiable writer died in 1848. His son. Lord Beaconsfield, 
bom here in 1805, was educated in a private school in the 


neighborhood until he was articled to a lawyer. He be- 
longed, therefore, essentially to a middle-class family; he was 
not wealthy by birth, but he was not poor; he had the ad- 
vantage, or the reverse, of being a Jew by descent and a 
Christian by conviction. To the former fact he owed much 
of his intellectual powers, to the latter the possibility of rising 
to the highest distinction and responsibility that the state has 
to offer, because at the outset of his career even the beginning* 
would have been impossible to one of the ancient Hebrew- 

The philanthropist John Howard was also a native of 
Hackney. He belonged, like so many others of the place, to 
the Nonconformists. His father was an upholsterer in the 
City, and he himself was at first made apprentice to a whole- 
sale grocer. He was, however, unfitted for that kind of 
work, and as soon as he could he bought himself out. This 
is not the place to enlarge upon the work accomplished by 
this extraordinary man. After being a prisoner of war in 
France he became wholly possessed with one resolution — ^to 
reform the management of prisons. How he traveled 
through Great Britain first and the continent afterward, how 
he published reports which revealed the plague spots called 
prisons all over Europe, is matter of common fame and 

I think that my claim for these suburbs, that they were a 
stronghold of Nonconformity, has been proved by these asso- 
ciations. There are, however, more. Everybody has read 
"Sandford and Merton," both that of Mr. Thomas Day and 
the other, equally instructive, of Mr. Bumand. Thomas Day 
belonged by residence to Stoke Newington. His house is still 
pointed out. In Clapton, on the other side of the high road, 
lived and died an amiable and accomplished novelist, Grace 
Aguilar. Here was bom a philanthropist, also among the 
Nonconformist ranks, the late Samuel Morley. Here was 
born another Nonconformist, the late Sir William Smith, 


editor of so many classical and antiquarian dictionaries and 
other aids to learning. 

Enough of Nonconformists. Let us turn to other associa- 
tions. Stoke Newington is connected with the name of 
Edgar Allan Poe. It was here that he was at school, where 
he was brought over by the Allans as a child. The house 
still stands ; it is at the comer of Edward's Lane, which runs 

House in Stoke Newington in which Edgar 
Allan Poe Lived. 

out of Church Street. Let us hope that the eccentricities 
of this wayward poet were not due to the influences of Non- 
conformist Newington. 

In the churchyard of Hackney may be seen the tombs and 
monuments of certain members of the Andre family. The 
unfortunate Major Andre was born at Hackney. His his- 
tory is well known ; our American visitors have been taught 
to think that Washington's act, severe indeed, was just and 
warranted by the facts of the case. That will not stifle the 
regret that a soldier of so much promise should have met 
with such a death. The time has gone by, or should have 


gone by, when the name of Andre called forth bitterness and 

One more note to connect suburban East London with 
America. In the year 1709 a great number of refugees — 
Palatines, Swabians, and others — came over to England, 
being driven out of their own country by the desolation of 
war. There were between six and seven thousand of them, 
all, or nearly all, being quite destitute. The Queen ordered a 
daily allowance of food to be bestowed upon these unfortu- 
nates, and tents were put up for them in various parts round 
London. The parish of Stoke Newington possessed at that 
time a small piece of ground, which was lying unoccupied. 
The parishioners undertook to build four houses on this 
field, and to receive twenty persons from the refugees. Other 
parishes offered to do the same. Finally, however, the gov- 
ernment disposed of them. The Roman Catholics were sent 
back to their own country ; the Protestants were settled, some 
in Ireland and the rest in the American colonies. A few 
went to Carolina ; the rest, twenty-seven hundred in number, 
were shipped to New York, where they arrived in June, 
1 7 10. They were allotted ten acres of land to each family. 
Most of them, however, for reasons of some dissatisfaction, 
removed to Pennsylvania, where they settled, and where their 
descendants, it is said, still preserve the history of their mis- 
fortunes and their emigration. 

The history of these suburbs is unlike that of any other 
part of London. From the middle of the seventeenth cen- 
tury until far in the nineteenth they were rural retreats ; a few 
houses were clustered about a church ; a meeting-house stood 
here and there; upon the whole place, on the faces of the 
residents, was the stamp of grave and serious religious 
thought and conviction; grave and serious Nonconformist 
divines or grave and serious merchants of the City profess- 
ing Nonconformity walked about its lanes and among its 
gardens. As recently as the thirties they retained this char- 


acter. The map of 1834 shows fields and pasture and garden 
where there is now a waste of brick and mortar; the little 
stream known as Hackney Brook meandered pleasantly 
through these fields ; Stoke Newington, though it could boast 
so many distinguished natives and residents, consisted of 
one long street, mostly with houses on one side only, and 
a church. The place is now entirely built upon; a few of 
the old houses remain, but not many, and the old atmosphere 
only survives in places which I have indicated, such as 
Sutton Place, High Street, Homerton, and Church Street, 
Stoke Newington. And I fear that to the visitor, to whom 
these associations are not familiar, there is no dignity about 
these streets other than is conferred by the few surviving 

We have seen that the suburb of Hackney is connected 
with Queen Victoria by the early residence there of Damley, 
husband of Mary Queen of Scots. There is, strangely, an- 
other house connecting this suburb with the Queen by another 
ancestress. Damley was the father of James I; the Prin- 
cess Elizabeth, known afterward as the Queen of Bohemia, 
was the daughter of James. Elizabeth had twelve children ; 
the youngest, Sophia, was the mother of George I. Eliza- 
beth lived for a time at Hackney, in a house called the Black 
and White House near the church — it is now destroyed ; the 
house had formerly been the residence of Sir Thomas Vyner, 
Lord Mayor of London. 

There are still more associations. Hackney is, in fact, 
richer in memories of this kind than any other suburb of 
London. Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Thomas More belong 
to American as well as English history, both of them because 
they precede the colonial time and the former because he fore- 
saw the boundless possibilities of America and attempted to 
found a colony there. Tradition — a vague tradition only — 
assigns to Sir Walter a residence in Hackney. History points 
with certainty to Sir Thomas More's connection with the 


place. His daughter Cecilia married one George Heron, son 
of Mr. Thomas Heron, Master of the jewel house to Henry 
Vni. The family house was a mansion, long since pulled 
down, on Shacklewell Green, and hither Sir Thomas must 
have come to visit his daughter. 

All Americans who visit London go to see the Charter 
House. It is one of the really ancient and beautiful things 
still left standing. One can make out the disposition of the 
buildings, the cloisters, refectory, chapel, and cells of the 
Carthusian monks. One can also study the more recent 
buildings which converted the monastery into an almshouse 
and a school. The transformation was effected by Thomas 

This excellent person, the son of a country gentleman, 
filled many offices during a long life of over eighty years. 
He was Master of the Ordnance to Queen Elizabeth; he 
became, at the advanced age of fifty, a citizen of London, 
joining the Girdlers' Company, and married the widow of 
one John Dudley, lord of the manor of Stoke Newington. 
On her death he removed to Hackney, living in a great house 
which you may still see standing at the present day, one 
of the very few old houses remaining. It is a house with a 
center and two wings; formerly there was a large garden 
behind it. Sutton died in 1614, only a few weeks after sign- 
ing deeds by which he endowed the Charter House with his 
estates for the maintenance of eighty almsmen and a school 
of boys. The foundation still exists; they have foolishly 
removed the school; the almsmen remain, though reduced 
in numbers. Colonel Newcome, as of course you remember, 
became one of them. 

Enough of great men. Let us speak of smaller folk who 
have distinguished themselves each in his own way. 

It is given to few to achieve distinction by ways petty and 
mean and miserable, or bold and villainous. These suburbs 
can point to one or two such examples, adduced here on ac- 


count of their rarity. Perhaps the most illustrious of the for- 
mer was a certain hermit. His name was Lucas ; he belonged 
to a West Indian family; he became a man of Hackney only 
when he was buried in the churchyard. His house was about 
thirty miles north of London ; on the death of his mother he 
became suddenly morose; he shut himself up alone in the 
house; he refused all society; he barricaded his room with 
timber and lived by himself in the kitchen, where he kept 
a fire burning night and day, wrapped himself in a blanket, 
slept upon a bed of cinders, and neither washed nor cut his 
hair nor shaved, but remained in this neglected condition, 
which he seems to have enjoyed greatly, after the manner of 
hermits, for twenty-five years, when he died. He lived on 
bread, milk, and eggs, which were brought to him fresh 
every day. He was an object of great curiosity; people came 
from all parts to gaze upon the hermit ; he was very proud of 
a notoriety which he would probably have failed to acquire 
by any legitimate eflforts ; and he conversed courteously with 
everyone. He was found in a fit one morning, after this 
long seclusion, and was removed to a farmhouse, where 
he died the next day. 

We may revive the memory of John Ward, formerly of 
Hackney, as a specimen of the villainous resident. 

His career was chequered with coloring of dark, very dark, 
and black shade. He began life in some small manufactory ; 
he wriggled up, and became a member of Parliament; he 
was prosecuted for forgery, he was pilloried, he was im- 
prisoned, and he was expelled the House of Commons. He 
was also prosecuted by the South Sea Company for felo- 
niously concealing the sum of £50,000. He suffered im- 
prisonment for this crime. He is held up to execration by 

" there was no grace of Heaven 
Given to the fool, the mad, the vain, the evil ; 
To Ward, to Waters, Charters and the Devil." 



He added to his villainies a kind of pinchbeck piety, that per- 
verted piety which manifests itself in beseeching the Lord 
to be on his side in his money-getting. The following is, 
I imagine, almost unique as a prayer. 

'^ O Lord, thou knowest that I have nine estates in the City of 
London and likewise that I have lately purchased an estate in fee 
simple in the county of Essex : I beseech thee to preserve the two 
counties of Middlesex and Essex fix)m fire and earthquakes : and as I 
have a mortgage in Hertfordshire, I beg of Thee likewise to have an 
eye of compassion on that county and for the rest of the counties 
Thou mayest deal with them as Thou art pleased. O Lord, enable 
the bank to answer all their bills, and make all my debtors good men. 

" Give prosperous voyage to the Mermaid sloop, because I have in- 
sured it : and as Thou hast said that the days of the wicked are but 
short, I trust in Thee that Thou wilt not forget Thy promise, as I 
have purchased an estate in reversion, which will be mine on the death 
of that profligate young man Sir J. L." 

Such a prayer would seem to argue some mental twist; 
but strange are the vagaries of the pinchbeck pious. 

Two more villains, and we make an end. The first of 
them was the bold Dick Turpin. Have the achievements of 
Dick Turpin crossed the ocean? Surely they have, if only in 
the pages of the "Pickwick Papers," where Sam Weller sing^ 
part of a song written in praise of the highwayman. The 
verses are generally believed to be by Charles Dickens him- 
self, but that is not so. They are by James or Horace Smith, 
or both, the authors of the "Rejected Addresses,'* and are the 
two opening stanzas of a long poem. Dick Turpin lived for 
a time at a house in Hackney Marsh, near a tavern and a cock- 
pit, and passed for a sporting gentleman free with his money. 
Few highwaymen were so successful as the gallant rider of 
Black Bess, and very, very few arrived, as he did, at the age 
of thirty-four before undertaking that drive to Tyburn Tree, 
which was the concluding act in his profession. Indeed, the 


grand climacteric for a highwayman seems to have been 

The other villain for whom Hackney blushes was a native 
of Homerton. This was none other than the famous "J^^^k 
the Painter," who formed the bold design of setting fire to 
all the dockyards in the country. The story of his attempt 
in Portsmouth Dockyard, and of his failure and trial, forms 
one of the most singular chapters in the criminal history of 
the last century. He was executed in 1776, and his body 
hung in chains on the shore near Portsmouth for a great 
many years. I have myself conversed with persons who 
could remember the gibbet of Jack the Painter, and his black- 
ened, tarred remains dangling in chains. But they were old 
men, and they were seafaring men. And when the mariner 
grows old his memory lengthens and strengthens and spreads. 





WE have dwelt so long on the melancholy pictures of 
the houseless and the starving that there is danger of 
falling hastily into the conclusion that Elast London is the 
favorite residence of Poverty, Misery, and Necessity — ^those 
Furies three. We must not think this. East London is, as 
I have said before, above all. things the city of the working- 
man — the greatest city of the respectable working-man in the 
whole world. Fortunately he is, for the most part, in good 
and steady work. Those are not his daughters who march 
arm in arm down Brook Street, lifting the h)rmn, which has 
no words, of irrepressible youth ; nor are those his sons who 
hang about the comers of the streets near the public house; 
nor has he any connection with the shuffling, ragged outcasts 
whom we call the submerged. 

The great mass of the population consists of the steady 
craftsmen, with the foremen, and the managers of depart- 
ments, and the clerks employed in the factories and the works. 
I am about to point out some of the ways in which these 
people brighten and enliven their days. 

A certain joyousness has always been the keynote of Lon- 
don life. A volume might be written on the cheerfulness of 
London ; it is not gaiety — Paris or Vienna is a city of gaiety ; 
it is a more valuable possession ; the citizen of London is not 
light-hearted; he is always, in fact, possessed with a whole- 
some sense of individual responsibility; but he is cheerful, 



and he loves those amusements which belong to the cheerful 
temperament. It must also be acknowledged that he loves 
sport, and everything connected with sport. Now this cheer- 
fulness of London a hundred years ago seemed well-nigh 
destroyed. The old social life of the City was broken up by 
the abandonment of the City ; the suburban life, without cen- 
ters of attraction, such as the little City parish, or the ward, 
or the City company was wont to offer, was dull and monoto- 
nous; the working-men, long left to themselves without 
schools, or leaders, or masters, or discipline of any kind, were 
sunk deep in a drunken slough, and the industrial side of Lon- 
don had hardly yet sprung into existence. In another place I 
have considered the suburban life ; here let me speak only of 
the people who make up the crowds of East London. Without 
apparent centers round which they could group themselves, 
the people, by instinct, when they found themselves thus 
massed together, revived the old cheerfulness of their ances- 
tors. East London, for its sports and pastimes, when we look 
into them, reminds us of London of the twelfth century as de- 
scribed by Fitzstephen — sl city always in good spirits, joyous, 
and given to every kind of sport. Not quite in the same 
way ; the houses are no longer decked with flowers — ^it would 
be too ridiculous to decorate a street leading out of the Com- 
mercial Road with flowers ; nor do we see any longer the old 
procession where the minstrels went before, — ^if it was only 
the tabor and the pipe, — while the lads and lasses followed 
after. Yet in its own way this new city is full of cheerful- 
ness; it contains so many Hooligans and casuals and out- 
casts that it ought to go about with a face of dismal lines ; but 
there were outcasts and casuals even in the twelfth century ; 
quite another note will be struck by one who investigates; 
there is no city more cheerful and more addicted to enjoyment 
than East London. 

Like all industrial cities — ^you may note the fact especially 
in Brussels — the young seem out of all proportion to the old ; 


this is of course partly because the young people come out 
more; they crowd the leading streets and the boulevards; 
they seem to have nothing to do, and to want nothing but 
to amuse themselves every evening. 

I have already twice called attention to the very remark- 
able change that has gradually transformed the life of the 
modem craftsman. We have given him his evenings — all 
his evenings; we have postponed his going to work by an 
hour at least, and in many cases by two hours; this means 
a corresponding extension of the evening, because when a 
man had to present himself at the workshop at 5:30 or 
6 A. M. he had to get up an hour before that time, therefore he 
had to be in bed by an early hour in the evening. This 
point is of vital importance ; it is affecting the national char- 
acter for good or evil ; it is full of possibilities and it is full 
of dangers. 

Our young people, who are those most to be considered, for 
obvious reasons, are now in possession of the whole even- 
ing. From seven o'clock till bedtime, which may be eleven 
or twelve, they are free to do what they please; the paternal 
authority is no longer exercised; they are, in every sense, 
their own masters. In addition, we give them the Saturday 
afternoon and the whole of Sunday free from the former 
obligations of church. We also give them the bank-holidays, 
with Christmas Day and Good Friday. In other words, we 
give them, if you will take the trouble to calculate, more than 
a quarter of the solid year, reckoned by days of twenty-four 
hours. If we reckon by days of sixteen hours we give them 
more than one third of the whole year, and we say to them, 
"Go; do what you please with one third of your lives." 
This is a very serious g^ft ; it should be accompanied by ad- 
monition as to responsibilities and possibilities. Anything 
may be done for good or for ill, with a whole third part of 
the working year to work at it. The g^ft, so far, and with 
certain exceptions, as of the ambitious lad who means to rise, 


and will rise, though it means hours of labor when others 
are at play, has been, so far, generally interpreted to mean, 
"Go and do nothing, except look for present enjoyment." 

The winter, by universal consent, comes to an end on 
Easter Sunday, which may fall as early as. the fourth week 
in March or as late as the fourth week in April. The breath 
of the English spring is chill, but the snow and the cold 
rains and the fogs have gone ; if the east wind is keen it dries 
the roads; the bicycles can come out; there is not yet much 
promise of leaf and flower, but the catkins hang upon the 
trees and the hedges are turning green, and the days are 
long and the evenings are light. I think that Easter Mon- 
day is the greatest holiday of the year to East London. 

It has replaced the old May-day. Formerly, when by the 
old style May-day fell on what is now the 14th, it came very 
happily at the real commencement of the English spring. 
We are liable to east winds and to cold and frost till about 
the middle of May, after which it is seldom that the east 
wind returns. On that day the whole City turned out to 
welcome summer. Think what they had gone through; the 
streets unpaved, mere morasses of mud and melting snow; 
the houses with their unglazed windows boarded up with 
shutters ; the long evenings spent crouching round the fire or 
in bed; no fresh meat, no vegetables, only salted meat and 
birds, and, to finish with, the forty days of fasting on dried 
fish, mostly so stale that it would not now be allowed to be 
offered for sale. And here was summer coming again ! Out 
of the City gates poured the young men and the maidens to 
gather the branches and blossoms of the white-thorn, to come 
back laden with the greenery and to dance and sing around 
the May-pole. 

May-day has long ceased to be a popular festival. The 
Puritans killed it. Yet there still linger some of the old signs 
of rejoicing. To this day the carmen deck their horses with 
ribbons and artificial flowers on May-day. Until quite re- 
cently there were one or two May-day processions still to be 


seen in the streets. The chimney-sweeps kept up the custom 
longest. They came out in force, dressed up with fantastic 
hats and colored ribbons. In the midst was a moving arbor 
of green branches and flowers, called Jack in the Green. 
Beside him ran and danced a girl in gay colors, who was 
Maid Marian. Before him went a fife and drum or a fiddler, 
and they stopped at certain points to dance round Jack in the 
Green. Another procession, discontinued before that of the 
chimney-sweeps, was that of the milkmaids. The dairy 
women, dressed in bright colors and having flowers in their 
hair or in their hats, led along a milch cow covered with 
garlands. After the cow came a man inside a frame which 
bore a kind of trophy consisting of silver dishes and silver 
goblets, lent for the occasion and set in flowers. Of course 
they had a fiddler, always represented in the pictures as 
one-legged, but perhaps the absence of a leg was not an 

May-day is gone. Its place is taken, and more than taken, 
by Easter Monday. It is the fourth and last day of the 
longest holiday in the whole year. From Good Friday to 
Monday, both inclusive, no work is done, no workshops are 
opened. The first day, the Day of Tenebrae, the day of 
fasting and humiliation, is observed by East London as a day 
of great joy ; it is a day on which the men seek their amuse- 
ments without the women ; on this day there are sports, with 
wrestling and boxing, with foot-ball and athletics; the 
women, I think, mostly stay at home. On the Saturday little 
is done but to rest, yet there are railway excursions; many 
places of amusement, such as the Crystal Palace and the 
Aquarium (they offer a long round of shows lasting all 
through the day), are open. Easter Sunday is exactly like 
any other Sunday. But Monday — Monday is the holiday 
for all alike, men, women, and children. Poor and mis- 
erable must that man be who cannot find something for 
Easter Monday. 

There used to be the Epping Hunt. This absurd bur- 


lesque of a hunt was the last survival of the right claimed 
by the citizens of London to hunt in the forests of Middle- 
sex. On Easter Monday the "hunt" assembled ; it consisted 
of many hundreds of gallant huntsmen mounted on animals 
of every description, including the common donkey; there 
were also hundreds of vehicles of every kind bringing people 
out to see the hunting of the stag. It was a real stag and 
a real hunt. That is to say, the stag was brought in a cart 
and turned out, the horsemen forming an avenue for him to 
run, while the hounds waited for him. There was a plunge, 
a shout; the stag broke through the horsemen and ran oflf 
into the cover of the forest, followed by the whole mob at full 
gallop; the hounds seem to have been for the most part be- 
hind the horses, which was certainly safer for them. The 
stag was not killed, but was captured and taken away in the 
cart that brought him. The Epping Hunt is no longer cele- 
brated, nor is Epping Forest any longer one of the haunts 
of Easter Monday. 

Five miles from St. Paul's cathedral lies a broad heath 
on the plateau of a hill. This is Hampstead Heath. Two 
hundred years ago, on the edge of the heath was a Spa, 
with a fashionable assembly-room and a tavern. The Spa 
decayed, and the place became the residence of a few wealthy 
merchants, each with his stately garden. Some of these 
houses and these gardens survive to this day; most of them 
are built over, and Hampstead is now a suburb of eighty 
thousand people, standing on the slope and top of a long 
hill rising to the height of nearly five hundred feet. The 
heath, however, has never been built upon. It is a strangely 
beautiful place; not a park, not a garden, not anything arti- 
ficial, simply a wild heath covered with old and twisted 
gorse bushes, with fern and bramble, and in spring lovely 
with the white-thorn and the blackthorn and the blossoms 
of the wild crab-apple, Britain's only native fruit. The 
heath is cut up into miniature slopes and tiny valleys; a 

' la mi \ I ' 


Hampstead Heath, Looking " Hendon Way." 


high causeway runs right across it; the place is so high that 
there is a noble view of the country beyond, while at rare 
intervals, when the air is clear, tlie whole valley of the 
Thames lies at the spectator's feet, and London, with her 
thousand spires and towers is clearly visible, with St. Paul's 
towering over the whole. 

The heath is the favorite resort of the holiday makers of 
Easter Monday ; a kind of fair is permitted on one side, with 
booths and the customary bawling. There are never any 
shows on Hampstead Heath — I know not why. The booths 
are for rifle galleries, for tea and coffee and ices, for cakes 
and ginger-beer, for crafty varieties in the game of dropping 
rings or pretty trifles for bowls and skittles, and for "shy- 
ing" sticks at cocoanuts. No stalls are allowed for the sale 
of strong drink. Here the people assemble in the morning, 
beginning about ten, and continue to arrive all day long, 
dispersing only when the sun goes down and the evening be- 
comes too cold for strolling about. They may be numbered 
by the hundred thousand. Here are the factory g^rls, going 
about in little companies, adorned with crimson and blue 
feathers ; they run about laughing and shrieking in the simple 
joy of life and the exhilarating presence of the crowd; they 
do not associate with the lads, who dress up their hats with 
paper ribbon and hurl jokes, lacking in originality as in deli- 
cacy, at the girls as they run past. There are a great many 
children; the policemen in the evening bring the lost ones, 
disconsolate, to the station. Some of them have come with 
their parents ; some of them, provided with a penny each, have 
come alone ; it is wonderful to see what little mites run about 
the heath, hand in hand, without any parents or guardians. 
There are young married couples carrying the baby. All 
the people alike crowd into the booths and take their chapce 
at what is going on ; they "shy" at the cocoanuts as if it were 
a new game invented for that day, they dance in the grass to 
the inspiring strains of a concertina, they swing uproariously 


in the high wooden carriages, they are whirled breath- 
lessly round and round on the steam-conducted wooden cav- 
alry, and all the time with shouting and with laughing inces- 
sant. For, you see, the supreme joy, the true foundation of 
all this happiness, is the fact that they are all out again in the 
open, that the winter is over and gone, and that they can once 
more come out all together, as they love, in a vast multitude. 
To be out in the open, whether on the seashore or on Hamp- 
stead Heath, in a great crowd, is itself happiness enough. 
There is more than the joy of being in a crowd ; there is also 
the joy of being once more on the green turf. Deep down, 
again, in the hearts of these townbred cockneys there lies, 
ineradicable, the love of the green fields and the country air. 
So some of them leave the crowd and wander on the less 
frequented part of the heath. They look for flowers, and 
pick what they can find; the season is not generally so far 
advanced as to tempt them with branches of hawthorn, nor 
are the fields yet covered with buttercups ; the buds are swell- 
ing, the grass puts on a brighter green, but the spring as 
yet is all in promise. There are other country places of 
resort, but Hampstead is the favorite. 

For those who do not go out of London on Easter Mon- 
day there are more quiet recreations. On that day Canon 
Barnett opens his annual exhibition of loan pictures at his 
schools beside his church at Whitechapel ; to the people of his 
quarter he offers every year an exhibition of pictures which is 
really one of the best of the yearly shows, though the West 
End knows nothing about it, and there is no private view at- 
tended by the fashionable folk, who go to see each other. 
There is a catalogue ; it is designed as a guide and an aid to 
the reader ; it is therefore descriptive ; in the evening ladies go 
round with small parties and give little talks upon the pic- 
tures, explaining what the artist meant and how his design 
has been carried out. Such a party I once watched before 
Burne- Jones's picture of "The Briar Rose." The people 


gazed; they saw the brilliant coloring, the briar-rose every- 
where, the sleeping knights, the courtyard — ^all. Then the 
guide began, and their faces lit up with pleasure and under- 
standing, and all went home that evening richer for the con- 
templation and the comprehension of one gpreat work of art. 

At the People's Palace there are concerts morning and 
evening; perhaps also there is some exhibition or attraction 
of another kind; there are other loan exhibitions possible 
besides those of art. 

Some of the people, but not many, go off westward and 
wander about the halls of the British Museum. I do not 
know why they go there, because ancient Egypt is to them no 
more than modem Mexico, and the Etruscan vases are no 
more interesting than the "Souvenir of Margate," which 
costs a penny. But they do go; they roam from room to 
room with listless indifference, seeing nothing. In the same 
spirit of curiosity, baffled yet satisfied, they go to the South 
Kensington Museum and gaze upon its treasures of art; or 
they go to the National Portrait Gallery, finding in Queen 
Anne Boleyn a striking likeness to their own Maria, but 
otherwise not profiting in any discoverable manner by the 
contents of the gallery. And some of them go to the Na- 
tional Gallery, where there are pictures which tell stories. 
Or some get as far as Kew Gardens, tempted by the repu- 
tation of the houses which provide tea and shrimps and 
water-cresses outside the gardens, as much as by the Palm 
House and the Orchid Houses within. 

The streets on Easter Monday present a curious Sunday- 
like appearance, with shops shut and no vehicles except the 
omnibus, but in the evening the theater and the music-hall 
are open, and they are crammed with people. 

Therefore, though Easter Monday is the greatest of the 
people's holidays, it is so chiefly because it is the first, and 
because, like the May-day of old, it stands for the end of 
the long, dark winter and the first promise of the spring. 


Even in the streets, the streets of dreary monotony, the 
East Londoners feel their blood stir and their pulses quicken 
when the April day draws out and once more there comes an 
evening light enough and long enough to take them out by 
tram beyond the bricks. 

The holiday of early summer is Whit-Monday, which is 
also a movable feast, and falls seven weeks after EUister, so 
that it is due on some day between May 12th and June 12th. 
I have already observed that the cold east wind, which re- 
tards our spring, generally ceases before the middle of May, 
though in our climate nothing is certain — ^not even hot 
weather in July and August. When it falls reasonably late, 
say in the first week of June, there is some probability that 
the day will be warm, even though there may be showers; 
that the woods will be resonant with warblers, the fields 
golden with buttercups, the hedges bright with spring flow- 
ers, the bushes white and pink with May blossom, and the 
orchards glorious with the pink of the apple and the creamy 
white of the cherry and the pear. On this day the East 
Londoner goes farther afield; he is not content with Hamp- 
stead Heath, and he will not remain under cover at the Crys- 
tal Palace. Trains convey him out of London. He goes 
down to Southend, at the mouth of the Thames; there, at 
low tide, he can gaze upon a vast expanse of mud or he can 
walk down a pier a mile and a half long, or, if it is high 
tide, he may delight in the dancing waters with innumerable 
boats and yachts. Above all, at Southend he will find all 
the delights that endear the seaside to him; there is the tea 
with shrimps— countless shrimps, quarts and gallons of 
shrimps ; he is among his own kind ; there is no one to scofiF 
when, to the music of the concertina, he takes out his com- 
panion to dance in the road; he sings his music-hall ditties 
unchecked; he bawls the cry of the day, and it is counted 
unto him for infinite humor. Southend on Whit-Monday 
is a place for the comic man and the comic artist; it is also 
the place for the humorist. 

The Shooling-Callery. 


One must not be hard upon the Whit-Monday holiday- 
maker. He is at least good-humored ; there is less drunken- 
ness than one would expect; there is very little fighting, but 
there is noise — ^yes, there is a good deal of noise. These 
children of nature, if they feel happy, instinctively laugh and 
shout to proclaim their happiness. They would like the by- 
standers to share it with them; they cannot understand the 
calm, cold and unsympathetic faces which gaze upon them as 
they go bawling on their way. They would like a friendly 
chorus, a fraternal hand upon the shoulder, an invitation to 
a drink. Let us put ourselves in their place and have pa- 
tience with them. 

I have already mentioned Epping Forest in connection 
with the cockney hunt of Easter Monday. But to be seen 
in the true splendor of its beauty Epping Forest must be 
visited in early June. It is the East Londoner's forest; 
fifty years ago he had two ; on the east of Epping Forest lay 
another and a larger, called Hainault Forest. It was dis- 
forested and cleared and laid out in farms in the year 1850. 
Epping, however, remains. It is about sixteen miles north 
of the river; encroachments have eaten into its borders, and 
almost into its very heart. For a long time no one paid any 
attention. Suddenly, however, it was discovered that the 
forest, which had once covered twelve thousand acres, now 
covered only three thousand. Three fourths had been simply 
stolen. Then the City of London woke up, appointed a ver- 
derer and rangers, drew a map of what was left, and sternly 
forbade any more encroachments. What is left is a very 
beautiful wild forest; deer roam about its glades; for the 
greater part of the year it is quite a lonely place, only re- 
ceiving visitors on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. It 
is a narrow, cigar-shaped wood about a mile broad and eight - 
miles long. There are outlying bits on the north and on the 
south. The ancient continuity of the forest is gone, but 
there are tangles of real wood and coppice here and there; 


j'r^rz c-x' I 


the central point of the forest, that which attracts most peo- 
ple, is a small bit of wild wood lying on a hill. Here the 
ground is rough and broken; everywhere are oaks, elms, 
beeches, and hornbeams, with a veritable jungle of wild roses, 
sloes, thorns, and brambles. The woods are filled with sing- 
ing birds ; the ground is covered with wild flowers. Imagine 
the joy of the East Londoner on Whit-Monday when he 
plunges up to his knees in the buttercups, the wild anemones, 
and the flowering grasses, while the lark sings overhead, and 
thrush and blackbird call from the woods around him, and 
the sun warms him and the sweet air refreshes him. Such 
an one I followed once and watched. He was a young fellow 
of twenty-one or so, with his wife, a girl of nineteen, behind 
him. He had taken the pipe out of his mouth ; instinctively 
he felt that the pipe was out of place ; he threw himself down 
upon the grass and clasped his hands under his head. 
"Gawspel truth, old gal !*' he cried, out of the fullness of his 
heart. "It 's fine ! It 's fine !" 

It was fine, and it was Whit-Monday, and a hundred thou- 
sand others like unto this young fellow and his bride were 
wandering about the forest that day. 

There are not many students of archaeology in East Lon- 
don, which is a pity, since there are many points of interest 
within their reach. All round the forest, for instance, and 
within the forest there are treasures. To begin with, there 
are two ancient British camps still in good preservation; 
there is a most picturesque deserted church, called old Ching- 
ford church ; there is the ancient Saxon church, whose walls 
are oaken trunks, put up to commemorate the halt of those 
who carried St. Cuthbert's bones; there is Waltham Abbey, 
where King Harold lies buried ; and if you take a little walk 
to the east you will find yourself at Chigwell, and you may 
dine at the inn where, in the Gordon troubles, as presented in 
"Barnaby Rudge," the landlord found a trifle of glass broken. 
But the joy in things ancient has not yet been found out by 


the London workman. Now and again he is a lover of birds 
or a student of flowers; for such an one Epping is a haunt 
of which he can never tire, for it is the only place near 
London where he can watch heron, hawk, kingfisher, and the 
wild water-fowl. 

Or the people go farther afield by cheap excursion trains. 
Their coming is not welcomed by the inhabitants of the 
towns which are their destination. They go to Brighton 
or to Hastings ; they sit in long rows, side by side, upon the 
shingle idly watching the waves; they go to Portsmouth 
and sit on Southsea beach watching the ships. They even 
get across to the Isle of Wight. Last year I was at a little 
town in that island called Yarmouth. I there made the ac- 
quaintance of an ancient mariner who was employed by 
Lloyd's to take the names of all the ships which passed into 
the Solent, here a narrow strait. He told me in conversation 
that I ought to see their church, which is old and beautiful. 
I replied that I had attempted to do so, but found the door 
shut. Upon which he gave me the following remarkable 
reason for this apparent want of hospitality. I quote his 
words to show the local opinion of the tripper. "You see," 
he said, "it 's all along of they London trippers. One Whit- 
Monday they came here and they found the church doors 
open and in they went, nosebags and cigarettes and all. 
Then the parson he came along, and he looked in. 'Well,' 
says the parson, 'Dash my wig !' he says. 'Get up off of them 
seats,' he says, 'and take your 'ats off your 'eads,' he says, 
'and take they stinkin' bits o' paper out of your mouths,' 
he says, 'and get out of the bloomin' church,' he says. And 
he puts the key in his own pocket, and that 's why you can't 
get into the church." The remarkable language attributed 
to the parson on this occasion illustrates the depth of local 
feeling about East London out on a holiday. 

The August bank-holiday is a repetition of Whit-Monday, 
without the freshness of that early summer day. By the end 


of July the foliage of the trees has become dark and hea\^' ; 
the best of the flowers are over in field as well as garden; 
the sadness of autumn is beginning. All through the sum- 
mer, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, the excursion 
trains are running in all directions, but especially to the sea- 
side ; the excursion steamers run to Southend, Walton, Mar- 
gate, and Ramsgate. For those who stay at home there are 
the East-End parks, Victoria Park, West Ham Park, Fins- 
bury Park, Clissold Park, Wanstead Park. They are 
thronged with people strolling or sitting quietly along the 
walks. All these parks are alike in their main features ; they 
are laid out in walks and avenues planted with trees; they 
contain broad tracts of green turf; there is an inclosure for 
cricket; sometimes there is a gymnasium, and there is an or- 
namental water, generally very pretty, with rustic bridges, 
swans, and boats let out for hire. Where there is no park, 
as at Wapping and Poplar by the riverside, there are recre- 
ation grounds. In all of them a band of music plays on 
stated evenings. 

This restoration of the garden to the people is a great fea- 
ture of modern attempts at civilization ; it seems terrible that 
there should be no place anywhere for children to play ex- 
cept the streets, or for the old people to sit except in the 
public house. London is now dotted with parks, chiefly 
small and covered with gardens. Nearly all the church- 
yards have been converted into gardens ; the headstones are 
ranged along the walls; they might just as well be taken 
away; one or two "altar tombs" are left. The rest of the 
ground is planted with flowering shrubs — lilac, laburnum, 
ribes, the Pyrus Japonica, and the like; the walks are as- 
phalted, and seats are provided. Nearly all the year round 
one may see the old people walking about the paths or sitting 
in the sun ; part of the ground is given to the children. It is 
difficult, indeed, to exaggerate the boon conferred upon a 
crowded city by these breathing-places, where one can be 


On Margate Sands. 


quiet. The summer amusements of the people, you will ob- 
serve, are not all made up of noisy crowds and musical trip- 
pers; add the summer evening walk in the park and, all the 
year round, the rest in the garden that is a disused burial- 

For the children there is the day in the country. Every 
summer day long caravans of wagons filled with children, 
singing and shouting as they go, drive along the roads to 
the nearest country place, or excursion trains crammed with 
children are carried off to the nearest seaside places. They 
nm about on the seashore, they bathe, they sit down to a 
tea of cake and buns, and they are taken home at night tired 
out but singing and shouting to the end. This summer "day 
out" is the one great holiday for the children; they scheme 
to get put on the lists of more than one excursion ; they look 
forward to it ; they count upon it. Every year vigorous ap- 
peals are made in the papers for help to send the children 
away upon their annual holiday; these appeals are of course 
pitched extravagantly high; they talk a conventional jargon 
about the little ones who grow up without ever gazing upon 
a green leaf or a tree. Rubbish ! There is not a street any- 
where in London where a garden, if it is only a disused burial- 
ground, is not accessible if the children choose to go there. 
Mostly the very little ones prefer the dirt pies in the gutter, 
but even for them the wagonette comes now and then to carry 
them off for the whole day to the grass of Victoria Park. 
Still, it is a very great thing that they should, once at least in 
the year, be carried away into real country and have a 
glimpse of meadows, woods, and cows and sheep. 

When they grow older they are still better off. It is quite 
common now for young men who carry on the Settlements 
and the boys' clubs to get the lads under their care to save 
up week by week until they have amassed the sum of five shil- 
lings. On this capital, with management, they are enabled 
to get a week's holiday by the seaside. It is a glorious time 


for them. A convenient place is found; it must be on the 
seashore; it should be quite free from any town or village; 
there must be no temptations of any kind ; the lads are there 
to breathe fresh air and life, quite cut off from any sugges- 
tion of town life. They sleep, every boy in his own rug, on 
dry, clean straw in a barn, which is also their refectory, their 
lecture-hall, their concert and their singing-room. On the 
seashore there are boats for them; they row and sail and 
they go deep-sea fishing ; they bathe every day, and they have 
swimming matches ; on the sands they run races ; in the even- 
ing they sing, they box, they look at dissolving views, and 
they lie down on the straw to rest. Their food is plain; it 
consists principally of boiled beef and potatoes, with cocoa 
and coffee and bread and butter. Of course this magnificent 
holiday demands a head and leader and obedience. But 
there is hardly ever any hitch or breakdown or row among 
the lads. 

The hopping, considered as an amusement, should be 
placed next, but we have already shown the place it takes in 
the year of the factory girl. It is indeed amusement to all 
concerned, especially if the weather be fine; it is amusement 
with profit; the hoppers come home with a pocket full of 
money ; they have left their pasty cheeks in the country, and 
they bring back rosy cheeks and freckled noses and sun- 
burned hands, with the highest spirits possible. The hop- 
ping, I confess, is not always idyllic. Last autumn it 
was reported that Maidstone Gaol was filled with hoppers 
charged with being disorderly; their camps might be con- 
ducted with more care for cleanliness ; London roughs should 
not be allowed to come down on Sunday and mar this Ar- 
cadia. But the complainant, a well-known clergyman of the 
district, spoke with moderated condemnation. A more care- 
ful classification of the families in each encampment, he 
thinks ; some check on the Sunday drink, which now flows at 
the sweet will of the people ; some hindrance to the incursion 



of the Sunday rough ; a more careful system of inspection — 
these things would go far to remove all reproach from the 
hopping. Meantime, as a proof of the substantial results of 
the work the roadway outside the principal station for their 
return was this year observed to be strewn with the old boots 
discarded by the hoppers when they bought new ones on their 
way home. 

The river Lea, which, according to some, is the natural 
boundary of East London, — ^but it has leaped across that 
boundary, — is part of the summer amusements. The stream 
at its mouth, where it is a tributary to the Thames, is a black 
and murky river indeed. Higher up above the works it is a 
pleasant little river, winding along at leisure through a broad, 
marshy valley. The ground is soft and easy to be worked, the 
incline is so gradual that it might easily and at small expense 
be made an ornamental stream, moderately broad and able to 
carry racing boats, flowing beside gardens and under summer- 
houses and between orchards from its source to its mouth. 
Instead of this, it has been mercilessly divided into "cuts," 
channels, and mill-streams running off at wide angles, joining 
again lower down, separating again into other cuts and chan- 
nels, again to unite. On its way it receives the refuse of mills, 
the refuse of towns; it passes Ware and Ryehouse, Totten- 
ham, Clapton, and Hackney ; its course unfortunately lies for 
the most part through a broad level of soft earth — ^marshy 
and low — ^which permits these cuttings and humiliations. It 
is accused of being a sewer; young men row upon it; boys 
bathe in it, but with remonstrance and complaint. The 
stream is, it must be confessed, in its lower reaches, offensive. 
Sore throats are caught beside its banks; sometimes people 
write indigfnantly about it to the papers. There is a little 
fuss, summer passes, in the winter no one goes near the river 
Lea, things are forgotten, and all goes on as before. 

It is not possible for a river to flow for thirty miles with- 
out having lovely stretches and picturesque comers. The 


Lea, with all its drawbacks, does possess these inevitable 
lapses into beauty. But in these pages we cannot stop to 
point them out. Where the Lea is beautiful it is outside 
the widest limits assignable to East London. Where the 
Lea is ugly, dirty, and disreputable, it used to form the east- 
ern boundary to East London. 

In the brief sketch of the summer amusements I have said 
nothing of the bicycle. Now, all the roads outside London 
are on Saturday and Sunday dotted with the frequent bicycle. 
It goes out in companies of twenty and thirty ; it goes out by 
twos and threes ; it goes out singly. On one Sunday twenty- 
five thousand bicycles were counted crossing one bridge over 
the Thames and making for the country beyond. And it 
seems that there are none so poor as not to afford a bicycle. 
The secret is, I believe, that a second-hand bicycle, or a bicycle 
of the last fashion but one, or a damaged bicycle, may be pur- 
chased of its owner for a mere trifle, and these lads learn very 
quickly how to repair the machine themselves. 

But the summer all too quickly draws to an end. By the 
middle of September twilight falls before seven. There are 
no more evening spins ten miles out and back again; by the 
end of October twilight falls at five; then there are no more 
Saturday afternoons on the road. The weather breaks, the 
roads are heavy, the bicycle is laid aside for the next four 
months, perhaps for more, because the cold east wind of early 
spring does not make the roads pleasant except for the hardi- 
est and the strongest. The winter amusements begin. For 
the factory girls and the dockers we have seen what they are : 
the street first and foremost; always the street, imperfectly 
lit, the pavement crowded; always the street, in which the 
girls march up and down three or four abreast. Their laugh 
is loud, but it is not forced; their jokes and their badinage 
with the lads are commonplace and coarse, but they pass for 
wit; they enjoy the quick pulse when all the world is young; 
they are as happy as any girls in any other class; they need 


not our pity; youth, if it has enough to eat and its evening 
of amusement, is always happy. 

They have, then, the boulevard without the cafe, the street 
with the public house and the invitation from youth, prodigal 
of its pence, to step in and have a drink. In addition, they 
have the music-hall and the theater. For some there is the 
club; but only a few, comparatively, can be persuaded to go 
into the club for an hour or two every evening. Most of 
them have no desire for a quiet place; they are obliged to 
be quiet in the factory; at night they like to make up for 
the day's long silence. 

So with their companions, the casual hands, the factory 
lads, the Hooligans, the children of the kerb, they rejoice in 
the days of their youth. 

Let us mount the social scale; we come to the craftsman 
in steady work, to the small clerk, to the small shopkeeper. 
Not that these are of equal rank. The working-man con- 
sorts with other working-men; the small clerk calls himself a 
gentleman; the small shopkeeper is a master. What have 
they for amusements? The small shopkeeper seems to get 
along altogether without any amusement. He keeps his 
"place" open till late in the evening; he shuts it, takes his 
supper, and goes to bed. His social ambitions are limited 
by the distinctions to be acquired in his chapel; he reads a 
halfpenny journal for all his literature. 

As for what is offered to those who will accept these gifts, 
there are lectures first and foremost; there are the lectures 
offered every winter at Toynbee Hall. These lectures are 
not, if you please, given by the "man in the street" ; the lec- 
turers are the most distinguished men in their own lines to 
be found; there is no talking "down" to the Whitechapel 
audience; those serious faces show that they are here to be 
taught, if the lecturer has anything to tell them, or to receive 
suggestions and advice; they are all of the working-class; 
they are far more appreciative than the audiences of the 


West End; they read and think; they have been trained and 
encouraged to read and think by Canon Barnett for many 
years; they are very much in earnest, and they do not come 
with vacuous minds; as Emerson said of the traveler so we 
may say of a man who Hstens to a lecture — he takes away 
what he brought with him. About the Settlements and the 

Toynbee Hall and St. Jude's Church. 

gifts which they offer, with full hands, to the people, I speak 
in the next chapter. 

What Barnett and Toynbee Hall have done for the intel- 
lectual side the People's Palace has done for the musical side. 
Its cheap concerts have led the people, naturally inclined to 
music, insensibly into ways of good taste; the palace was 
fortunate, at first, in getting a musical director who knew 
how to lead the people on; one of the most gratifying suc- 
cesses of this institution has been its music. They have now 
their own orchestra, vocal and instrumental. At the same 
place are held exhibitions, from time to time, of East Lon- 
don industries, of pictures, of arts and crafts of all kinds. 


Here is the finest gymnasium in London, and here are many 
clubs — for foot-ball, cricket, and games of all kinds. 

One omission in the amusements of London must be noted. 
There are no public dancing-halls. I see no reason at all 
why a public dancing-hall should not be carried on with as 
much attention to good behavior as a private dance, or a thea- 
ter, or any other place where people assemble together. It 
requires only the cooperation of the people themselves, with- 
out the aid of the police. Meantime, there is no form of 
exercise, to my mind, so delightful to the young and so 
healthful as dancing; nothing that more satisfies the restless- 
ness of youth than the rapid and rhythmic movement of the 
limbs in the dance. Nature makes the young long to jump 
about ; education should take in hand their jtunping and make 
it part of the orderly recreation which we are substituting 
for the old brutal sports. Dancing was tried at the People's 
Palace ; it was a great success ; the balls given in the Queen's 
Hall were crowded, and the people were as orderly as could 
be desired. But, indeed, the whole feeling of the assembly 
was in favor of order. 

The theater and the music-hall claim, and claim success- 
fully, their supporters ; concerning the former one has only to 
recognize that it may be a school of good manners, as well as 
of good sentiments, and that it is also an institution capable 
of ruining a whole generation. The pieces given at the 
theaters of East London are, so far as I have observed, chiefly 
melodramas. The music-halls are places frankly of amuse- 
ment, and for the most part, I believe, vulgar enough, but 
not otherwise mischievous. 

And there is the public billiard-room, with all that it means 
— ^the betting man, the professional player, the proximity to 
the bar, the beer and the tobacco, and the talk. It attracts 
the young clerk more readily than the young craftsman. It 
is his first step downward. If it does not plunge him be- 
neath the waves after the fashion that we have witnessed, 


it will keep him where he is and what he is — ^a writing ma- 
chine, a machine on hire at a wage not so very much better 
than a tjrpewriting instrument, all his life. Let us rather 
contemplate the thousands of lads who attend the classes 
at the palace, the polytechnics, and the Settlements; let us 
rather think of those who crowd into the concerts, sit as stu- 
dents at the lectures and listen and look on while the guide 
leads them round the exhibitions. 

In this long list of amusements I must have omitted some, 
perhaps many. For instance, I have not spoken of reading 
or of literature. The craftsman of East London has not yet 
begun to read books; at present he only reads the paper; 
his children read the penny dreadfuls, and are beginning to 
read books. 

Considering that Sunday afternoon is especially the time 
of rest, we must not forget one form of recreation peculiar 
to that time. It takes the form of an address given in some 
chapel. There is generally a short service, with prayer and 
the singing of a hymn; the people who attend and crowd 
the chapel seem to like this addition to the address which fol- 
lows. It is intended to be of a kind likely to interest and to 
instruct; the first duty of the lecturer is to choose a subject 
which does both; I have myself on more than one occasion 
attempted to address working-men on the Sunday afternoon ; 
I have found them easy to interest and quick to take up 
points. As at Toynbee Hall, one must not talk "down" to 
them. Indeed, the men who come to such lectures are the 
most intelligent and the best educated of the whole popula- 
tion. It is pleasant and restful for them ; the chapel is warm ; 
the singing is not disagreeable, even though in their own 
homes psalmody is not commonly practised ; to be called away 
on a dark and gloomy November afternoon and led gently 
into another world, with new scenery and other conditions, is 
that complete change which is the best rest of all. The lec- 
turer need not be afraid of tiring his audience; he may go 


on as long as he pleases ; when he leaves off they will crowd 
round him and beg him to come again. 

Many other omissions I have made purposely. There are 
the drinking and the gambling clubs, the betting clubs, 
haunts, and dens, if one choose to consult the police and to 
hunt them up, which would enable one to finish this chapter 
with a lurid picture. Where there are so many men and 
women there will always be found a percentage of the bad, 
the worse, and the worst. It is the hopeful point about East 
London that wherever the better things are offered they are 
accepted by the better sort; not by a few here and a few 
there, but by thousands who are worthy of the better things. 





THE work that lies before us in every city waiting for 
the Helping Hand — the human wreckage, bankruptcy, 
age, sickness, poverty, which must always be forming anew 
however we may meet it and find alleviation — ^will certainly 
not decrease as the years roll on. The point for us to consider 
here is not the volume and variety of the forces which cause 
this wreckage, but the attempts which are now being made 
to find this alleviation and, if possible, a remedy. 

The Helping Hand has a history, and it is very simple: 

1. First of all it threw a penny to the beggar because he 
was a beggar. 

2. Secondly, it offered free meals and free quarters in 
every monastic house to every beggar because he was a 

3. It continued to give the penny and the free meals and 
the lodging to the beggar because he was a beggar, but it 
ordered the beggar to go back to work. 

4. It arrested, imprisoned, branded, and flogged the beg- 
gar because he was a beggar. It continued also to give him 
a penny for the same reason. 

5. It founded almshouses for some of the aged poor ; those 
who could not get in continued to receive their penny and 
their flogging because they were beggars. 

6. It founded workhouses. Bridewell, and houses of cor- 

'7 319 


rection for the beggar. And it continued to give that pieixny 
to the beggar because he was a beggar. 

7. It built houses for the reception of the poor who could 
no longer work, infirmaries for the sick, orphanages and 
homes for poor children, casual wards for the homeless. It 
made begging an offense in the eyes of the law. Yet it con- 
tinued to give the beggar a penny because he was a beggjar. 

8. It discovered that a multitude of rogues and people 
who will not work trade upon the charity and the pity of 
people, sending around letters asking for help. It therefore 
established an association, with branches everywhere, to ex- 
pose the fraudulent. Yet it continued to g^ve the beggar a 
penny because he was a beggar. 

In other words, the Helping Hand has never been able to 
refrain from giving that penny which encourages the "mas- 
terless" man, and the man who will not work, and the fraudu- 
lent, and the writer of the begging letter. Could the Help- 
ing Hand be persuaded to refuse that penny for a single 
fortnight, to turn a deaf ear resolutely to the starving family 
on the road, to the starving children on the pavement, to 
the starving woman who stands silent, mournful, appealing 
with mute looks of misery, only for a single fortnight, the 
existence of the beggar would come to a sudden end. This 
the Helping Hand can never be persuaded to do. There- 
fore we have with us not only the real misery caused by 
fate, by fortune, by the natural consequences of folly and 
weakness and crime, but also the pretended misery of those 
who live upon the pity of the world and trade on that strange 
self-indulgence which gives the dole to remove an unpleas- 
ant object out of sight and to awaken the glow which follows 
with the sense of charity. 

I leave aside in this place the casual dole — ^the penny to 
the beggar because he is a beggar; it is illustrated for all 
time by the partition of the cloak between St. Martin and 
the beggar. The saint, then a gallant cavalryman, did not 


stop— or stoop — ^to inquire into the merits of the case; here 
was a beggar. Was he really starving? could he work? were 
his sufferings pretended ? was he really cold ? did he deserve 
any help at all? Was he, on the contrary, well fed and 
nourished, money in purse, food in wallet, a sufficiency of 
clothes on his back, a fire and a pot over it at home, with a 
well-fed family and a wife on the same "lay'' at the other 
gate of the city? Let us leave the Bishop of Liguge as a 
type for all the centuries of the unthinking charity which 
gives the penny to the beggar because he is a beggar. 

Let us turn to other and later developments. The Help- 
ing Hand has founded and endowed and now maintains by 
voluntary contributions hospitals of every kind for the sick; 
by rates and taxes, workhouses for the poor, schools for the 
children. Yet there has passed — ^there is now passing — over 
the work of charity a great and most remarkable revolution ; 
it is a revolution characteristic of a time in which every 
theory of social life, social conditions, and social responsi- 
bilities has been completely changed. The old duties remain 
still; schools and hospitals have been multiplied; if alms- 
houses have not increased, the workhouse system has become 
better organized. But we have become aware of other 
duties, of new responsibilities. It is now understood that 
it is not enough to put the children to school from one to 
fourteen ; they must be looked after when they leave school ; 
it is not enough to provide for the diseases of the body; we 
must make provision for the diseases, and the cause of the 
diseases, of the mind. The Helping Hand is at work in 
these days for the arrest of degeneracy; for the opening up 
of art, literature, music, science, culture of all kinds, to the 
better sort among the working-classes; for the wider exten- 
sion of the area and the depth of culture ; for the creation of 
that kind of public opinion which, more than anything else, 
makes for public order and the maintenance of law; for the 
care and safeguarding of young people at the perilous time 


of emancipation from school; for the rescue of those who 
can be rescued ; for the cleansing of the slums ; for the resto- 
ration to the world of those who, as we have seen, have 
dropped out; and for the 
prevention of pauperizing 
by ill-considered schemes 
of ill-informed benevolence. 
These are general terms. 
In order to carry out its 
work in detail, the Helping 
Hand looks after the chil- 
dren in their homes, while 
the Board-school looks 
after their teaching; it pro- 
vides cases for the hospital, 
and aids the parish authori- 
ties during sickness in the 
•home; it introduces the so- 
cial side into the lives of 
the better sort; it devises 
attractions for the young 
people who stand at the 
parting of the ways, where 
temptation is strong and 

The New Whilcch.pel Art G^.r,. "» P''""-"" ^* is bright 
(ThehiiiidiD<toti«ri<«!ii»«T-) With flowers; it teaches the 
lads a trade, and the girls a 
love for the quiet life; it wages war with the public house and 
the street ; it endeavors to bring back the lowest strata to a 
sense of religion which they have come to think the peculiar 
and rather unaccountable property of "class"; it brings 
friendliness among folk who have only known the order of 
the policeman. 

These are some of the functions which to-day are exer- 
cised by the Helping Hand. In East London we can see 


the hand at work with greater energy, wiser supervision, and 
in directions more varied than in any other city of Great 
Britain. I do not venture, for the obvious reason of igno- 
rance, upon comparison with American cities, but I should 
think that we have in E^st London, with its vast population 
of working-people of all kinds, ranging from the highly-paid 
foreman to the casual hand, the lad of the street, the wastrel, 
and the wreck, a mass of humanity which is not paralleled 
anywhere, and a corresponding amount of philanthropic en- 
deavor which it would be impossible to equal elsewhere. 

In this immense multitude there are many slums of the 
worst kind ; but they are now much fewer, and they are much 
less offensive, than they were ; the most terrible of the plague 
spots seem to have been improved away; to find the real old 
slum, the foul, indescribable human pigsty, one must no 
longer look for it in East London. That is to say, there 
are, I dare say, a few of the old slums left, but the places — 
there were then many of them — ^into which one peered, shud- 
dering, twenty years ago, have now vanished. The police, 
the clergy, the ladies who go about the parish, can still take 
the visitor into strange courts and noisome tenements, but 
he who remembers the former state of things feels that light 
and air and a certain amount of public opinion, with some 
measure of cleanliness, have been brought to the old-fash- 
ioned slum by the modem Helping Hand. 

If the American visitor to London desires to see a real 
old-fashioned slum — one where all the surroundings, physi- 
cal, and moral, are, to use the mild word of the day, abso- 
lutely "insanitary" — I would recommend him not to try East 
London, where he would have to search long for what he 
wants, but to pay a visit to Guy's Hospital on the south side 
of the Thames and to seek the guidance of one of the stu- 
dents through the courts of crime and grime which still lie 
pretty thickly round that fortress of the army of health. 

If you read novels of the day describing things brutal be- 


yond belief, it will be well to suspect that the situations are a 
little mixed. Art must exaggerate ; art must select ; art must 
group. In this way it is quite possible that a picture ten- 
dered as of to-day may really belong to twenty years ago. 
There is still plenty of misery left in East London — ^we need, 
in fact, no exaggeration; I could fill these pages with la- 
mentable histories; the people are still very much "down 
below'*; some of them are a long way down; they are not 
only suffering for the sins of their fathers, they are busily 
piling up by their own sins sufferings for their children. 
Terrible has been their own inheritance; more terrible still 
will be the inheritance of the children. 

Among these people, being such as they are, a whole army 
is at work continually. Let me now, in such short space 
as is at my command, consider in detail some of the more 
important methods by which this army is at work. It is 
not yet an army completely drilled and subdivided and com- 
manded ; some of their work overlaps, or hinders, other work. 
Perhaps it is not to be desired that this army should be com- 
pletely drilled and organized. We do not ask for the crj^s- 
tallized methods of French education, or the iron drill of the 
Prussian sergeant. Let us leave some room for individual 
choice. Given certain principles of action, the element of 
personal freedom in carrying out these principles becomes of 
vital importance. 

I have spoken of the revolution in opinion as to the re- 
sponsibilities of the better educated and the wealthier toward 
those below them. Perhaps the situation may be illustrated 
by considering the change that has passed over us in our 
conception of what civilization should mean. The view of 
the eighteenth century was that civilization, culture, the pur- 
suit of art, reading, learning of all kinds, science, the power, 
as well as the right, of government belonged essentially to 
the upper classes. When the good people of Spalding, for 
instance, in the year 1701, founded a literary society they 


called it the "Spalding Gentlemen's Society" — only gentle- 
men, you see, could be expected to take any interest in 
things that belong to civilization. It was further consid- 
ered that it was impossible to expect civilizing influences to 
bear upon the working-classes. They were kept in order 
by discipline, by the prison, and by the lash. To open the 
doors of education, to g^ive them access to the tree of know- 
ledge, would be a most dangerous, a most fatal, mistake. 
Even at the present day one hears, at times, the belated cry 
that the working-classes need no more than the barest ele- 
ments of learning. 

In certain circles the distinction between the cultured class 
and those outside was marked by artificial notes of manner 
and of speech. The limits were intolerably narrow; out- 
side these circles there was no leadership, no statesmanship, 

But apart from the pretensions of the eighteenth-century 
aristocracy it was considered by the middle class and the 
professional class alike dangerous to interfere with Provi- 
dence; the working-class were born to do service; let them 
learn to do it. Religion, of course, they could have if they 
wanted it; the church was there, the doors were open every 
Sunday, anybody might go in; the clergyman would visit 
the sick, if he were invited; the children were baptized in 
the church ; some of the people were married in the church ; 
all the people were buried in the churchyard, with the ser- 
vice of the church by law established. That was all; there 
were very few schools; education, even if the parents wished 
it, was not to be had, and the folk were left altogether to 
their own devices. They had been forced out of the City 
to make room for warehouses and offices ; they lived in their 
own quarters, especially along the riverside and in White- 
chapel, and they were left quite alone to their own devices. 

There were no police; the hand of the law among these 
crowded streets was weak ; they did what they pleased. There 


is a story belonging to the year 1790, or thereabouts, of a 
man living in Wapping, just outside the Tower of London, 
which was always garrisoned with troops. This man gave 
offense to his neighbors by complying with some obnoxious 
law. He heard that they were going to attack him, mean- 
ing that they were going to murder him. The man had the 
bulldog courage of his time ; he sent away his wife and chil- 
dren; he got a friend as brave as himself to join him; he 
closed his lower shutters and barricaded his door; he laid in 
ammunition, and he brought in and loaded two guns, one 
for himself and one for his friend. 

At nightfall the attacking party arrived ; they were armed 
with guns and stones. They began with a volley of the 
latter ; the besieged paid no attention ; they then fired at the 
windows; the besieged received their fire, and while they 
were loading again let fly among them, and killed or wounded 
two or three. They retired in confusion, but returned in 
larger numbers and with greater fury. All night long the 
unequal combat raged. When their ammunition was spent 
the two men dropped out of a back window into a timber 
yard, where they hid in a saw-pit. Observe that this battle 
lasted all the night, close to the Tower, and that no soldiers 
were sent out to stop it till the morning, when the mischief 
was done and the house was sacked. And no one was ar- 
rested, no one was punished, save the men who were shot. 
Can any story more clearly indicate the abandonment of the 
people to their own devices? 

Reading these things, remembering how brutal, how igno- 
rant, how degraded were whole masses of our people at 
that time, I am amazed that we came out of that long strug- 
gle of 1 792- 18 1 5 without some awful outburst, some Jac- 
querie, like that of the Parisian mob, which might have 
drenched our land, as it did that of France, with blood and 
murder. And I think that when the social history of the nine- 
teenth century, which we who have lived in it cannot grasp. 


save in parts, comes to be really and impartially considered, 
the chief feature, the redeeming point, will be that it began 
to recognize in practice the elementary truths that we are 
all responsible for each other, that each is his brother's 
keeper, that no class can separate itself from the rest, and 
that no civilization is durable or safe unless it includes the 
whole people. 

What, then, have we done? What have we attempted? 
What are our present aims? It is not my purpose either to 
defend or to attack. I have only to state what is being done. 
Nothing can be attempted in this direction that is not open 
to abuses of one kind or another. The relief of distress 
encourages the idle ; help of every kind is seized upon by the 
fraud and the impostor; if we feed and clothe the children 
their parents have more money for drink; the most we can 
do is to choose the line that seems open to the fewest objec- 
tions and to exercise the most unremitting vigilance, care, 
and caution. The worst feature in the whole chapter of 
modern charity is that love and forbearance the most un- 
wearied, devotion the most unselfish, seem too often only 
to pauperize the people, to induce more impudent frauds. 
But not always; we must take the line of the greatest, not 
the least, resistance, — ^that which is hardest for the worker, 
and certainly most unpopular with the subjects, — and we 
must judge of results from what follows. All modern phi- 
lanthropic effort must, in order to be successful, be based 
upon the people understanding quite clearly that such effort 
cannot, by any ingenuity or any lies and legends, be turned 
to the encouragement of those who will not work. 

I begin with the parish. There is at the present moment 
no more active clergy in the world than our own; there is 
no organization more complete than that of a well-worked 
London parish. The young men who now take Holy Orders 
know, at the outset, that they must lead lives of perpetual 
activity. There are the services of the parish church, with 


outlying mission churches; there are Sunday-schools, there 
are clubs, there are mothers' meetings, there are amusements 
for the people — concerts and entertainments for the winter ; 
there is the supervision of the visiting ladies who go about 
the parish and learn the history of all the tenants in all the 
courts. There is the choir to be looked after, there are the 
sick to be cared for, there are always people in distress and 
in need of help— people for whom the vestry officers and 
workhouse officers can do nothing; the despairing young 
clergyman very soon finds out that the more you give to 
people who want help, the more people there are who clamor 
for help; he has to learn, you see, the great lesson that in 
certain social levels, where not to work should mean not to 
eat, no one will do a stroke of work if he can avoid it 
Some of the clergy never do learn this lesson; they go on, 
all their lives, giving, doling, distributing, and pauperizing. 
The organization of a London parish on the modem line 
is amazing in the extent of the aims and the variety of the 
work done. I have before me the annual report of a parish. 
From this document, which is like most of the other paro- 
chial annuals, it would seem the resolved endeavor of the 
clergy to make every kind of helpful and civilized work 
spring from the church and rest upon the church. In this 
report there are notices of seventy-five associations of various 
kinds; among them are gilds and fraternities, schools and 
classes; there are institutions purely religious and purely 
secular; with the Bible classes and the g^lds we find the 
penny bank, the sharing club, the sale of clothes, the library, 
the maternity society, the mothers' meetings, the cookery 
class, and the blanket society. All these associations are 
conducted by the vicar and his four curates, assisted by a 
voluntary staff of about twenty ladies. It is evident that 
without unpaid and voluntary assistance the work could not 
be even attempted. The remarkable point — the "note" of 
the time — is that this voluntary assistance is like the widow's 
cnise — it never fails. 


If, on the other hand, it is asked how far the people re- 
spond to the assumption that everything is done by the 
church, it is necessary to reply that the church, as a rule, 
remains comparatively empty. We have seen elsewhere that 
the percentage of attendance at the Sunday services of the 

The East London Mission. 

parish or the district church was, fourteen .years ago, a little 
over three. Occasionally, however, when the vicar is a man 
of exceptional character, one who succeeds in winning the 
respect and the affection of the people so that they will follow 
him even into his church, the services are well attended, and 
in the evening crowded. There is, for example, a church in 
a district — a very poor and humble district near Shoreditch : 
the church was built through the exertions of the present 
vicar, who has succeeded in making the people attend. The 


history of the man partly explains the phenomenon. Fif- 
teen years ago, when he went there, the place, consisting of 
a dozen miserable streets, was one of the vilest kind. Vio- 
lence, robbery, drunkenness, murder, life in the most un- 
cleanly forms imaginable prevailed in this slice of a large, 
crowded parish, which this man cut off to make a parish by 
itself. He sat down in the midst of them all, and he began. 
Observe that the first lesson he had to teach them was that he 
was not afraid of them ; he was neither afraid of their threats 
nor of their proffered violence nor of their tongues ; he went 
about among the women — the owners of those tongues — and 
opened up conversation with them; he spoke them friendly; 
they gave him the retort unfriendly; he replied readily and 
boldly, carrying the laugh against his adversaries; the com- 
mon bludgeon of Billingsgate he met with the gentle rapier of 
"chaff," insomuch that the women were first infuriated, then 
silenced, and then reduced to friendliness, and, in this more 
desirable frame of mind, so remain. He put up a temporary 
church ; beside the church he started schools ; he opened a club 
for lads and the younger men; he provided his club with 
things that attracted them — rough games and gymnastics; 
more than this, he gave them boxing-gloves and taught them 
how to fight according to the strict rules of the prize-ring. 
You think that this is not the ideal amusement for a clergy- 
man — wait a bit. The rules of the prize-ring are rigid rules ; 
they demand a good deal of study ; they make boxing a duello 
conducted according to rules of honor and courtesy. . Now, 
when a lad has learned to handle the gloves according to the 
rules he becomes a stickler for them. Like Mrs. Battle over 
a game of whist, he exacts the rigor of the game. As for 
the old methods — the stones in the knotted handkerchief, 
the club, the short iron rod, and the cowardly boot — ^he will 
have no more of them. Moreover, fifteen minutes with a 
stout adversary, two or three returns to earth, and a shake- 
hand at the end, knock the devil out of a lad — ^the devil of 


restlessness and of pugnacity — ^give him a standard of honor, 
and make the rough-and-tumble in the street no longer 
worthy of consideration. 

Then the vicar built a "doss-house," a place where men 
could sleep in peace and cleanliness. And he lived among 
his people, spending every evening of his life in club and 
doss-house and all day in the parish, so that the people 
trusted him more and more ; and not only did his club over- 
flow, but his church also began to fill — ^by this time it is no 
longer a temporary thing of iron, but a lovely church, with 
painted windows and carved work. In his services there is 
plenty of singing; he has processions, which the people like, 
with banners and crosses, the choir singing as they go. He 
also has incense, which I have never understood to be other 
than a barbaric survival. Nor can I understand how any one 
can endure the smell. Still, I suppose the people like it or 
he would not have it, and, after all, for those who do like the 
smell it is apparently harmless. 

How many others have tried the same methods, but have 
failed ! Why ? Because the one thing necessary for success 
in such work as this — ^nine parts philanthropic and one part 
religious — is the magnetic power which we call, in practical 
work, sympathy, and, in art or literature, genius. 

The clergy, with or without this magnetic power, work 
day and night. Never before has the Church of England 
possessed a clergy more devoted to practical work. Never 
before, alas ! has the Church possessed so few scholars or so 
few preachers. Learning, save for a scholar here and there, 
has deserted the Church of England. Eloquence has passed 
from her pulpits to those of the Nonconformists. But the 
clergy work. Unfortunately, the parishes are large; even 
a district church has often ten thousand people or more, and 
those mostly poor, so that the struggle would be, if it were 
not supplemented, almost hopeless. 

It is supplemented in many ways. To begin with, in its 


civilizing work, by the Board-school. The action of the Lon- 
don School Board is always subjected to the fiercest ligrht of 
hostile criticism, especially that of the ratepayers, who have i 
seen with disgust the rate mounting year by year. There 
is, however, a consensus of agreement that the influence of 
the schools has been to humanize the people in a manner 
actually visible to all. The results are before us. The chil- 
dren of to-day are, it is confessed even by opponents to 
the policy of the School Board, in every respect better than 
those of twenty years ago, and this although, despite laws 
and inspectors, there are still many children who escape the 
meshes of the school net. The mothers understand that the 
teachers demand certain things of them; that the children 
must present themselves with hands and faces washed and 
with some attempt at neatness in their dress; this gives rise 
to a certain shame at letting the children go unwashed ; per- 
haps, also, the thought of the school tyranny makes the 
father remember on Saturday afternoon the responsibility' 
of the children, even to knocking off a pint or so. 

As for the children themselves, they love the school and 
the teachers and the lessons; this part of the day is their 
happiness. Whether in the after life they will remember 
much of the scraps they learned — crumbs of knowledge : the 
historical crumb, the geographical crumb — I know not, but 
the important lessons of order and obedience are not readily 
forgotten; they will remain; when these children grow up 
some of them will perhaps join the company of disorder ; but 
they will be rebels, not untaught savages who know no law. 

I have already spoken of the clubs for boys and girls. 
These clubs are simply invaluable. They take the young 
people at a time when habits are most easily formed, at a 
time of life when it is most desirable to give them occupa- 
tion and pursuits which will take them away from the dan- 
gers of the streets. 

For the better class of boys, those who should be taught 


the better trades, especially those which require a knowledge 
of drawing, designing, or machinery, there are the continu- 
ation schools, which are carried on in the evening, and the 
Polytechnics. A Polytechnic is to the young working lad 
what a public school or a college is to the upper class. It 
not only teaches him a trade, that by which he is to live, but 
it gives him discipline, obedience, responsibility, and the 
sense of duty. It makes a man of him; it gives him honor 
and self-respect. There are now lads in the London Poly- 
technics by thousands ; many of them will go out to the colo- 
nies; whether they emigrate or whether they stay at home, 
they will become the very cream and flower of the working- 
people; they will stand up wherevfer fate leads them as life- 
long champions for soberness and for industry. Not for 
them will be the wild dreams of anarchy; not for them the 
follies of an impossible socialism; not for them the derision 
of religion ; not for them the hatred of the rich or the jeal- 
ousy of class. Not the least among the benefits and advan- 
tages of the Polytechnic is the esprit de corps promoted 
among them; they are as proud of their "Poly'' as any lad 
of Eton or any man of Balliol. And the latest arrival from 
the place, wherever he goes, is sure to find friends and ad- 
visers and helpers among the old boys of his "Poly." 

The Helping Hand in education is of such great impor- 
tance that one may dwell a little upon the machinery by which 
a clever and persevering lad may rise from the very lowest 
levels to any honor or distinction which the country has to 
offer. It is chiefly the Technical Education Board, a body 
which has been in existence for some ten years, which sup- 
plies the ladders. This Board is empowered by the London 
County Council to assist in supplying technical instruction 
to schools and institutions which are not conducted for pri- 
vate profit. The Board spends the sum of £170,000 a year 
in maintaining and developing classes for technical edu- 
cation. The most important of these institutions are the 


Polytechnics above mentioned. There are twelve of these 
in and about London, of which two are in our quarter 
of East London. The number of students in Pol)rtechnics 
— ^all of them, it is needless to say, of the working-class 
— amounts to 45,000. The cost of maintaining them is 
£120,000, of which the Board of Technical Education con- 
tributes £30,000; a large sum is given by the City Charities 
Commission, and the rest is given by half a dozen rich City 
companies. It is evident we have here a very serious at- 
tempt at providing technical education for lads who are to 
become the skilled workmen of the future. Formerly they 
were apprenticed to various trades ; the system of apprentice- 
ship has fallen into disuse; but it is found highly neces- 
sary, if this country is to hold her own against foreign com- 
petition, to train the lads in workshops and laboratories 
where they may learn every branch of their own trade 
There are excellent and fully equipped laboratories at the 
People's Palace and one or two other Polytechnics. As for 
the trades taught, they are far too numerous to set down. 
All those trades which are connected with engineering, with 
metal work, with gold- and silver-smiths' work, with enam- 
eling, wood engraving, bookbinding, decorating and paint- 
ing, carpentry, furniture- and cabinet-making, and a hun- 
dred other trades are taught in these colleges of industry. 
There are art schools also for the teaching of design, deco- 
ration, and all the art requirements of the trades. 

For the encouragement of the lads who have left school 
and are willing to carry on their work the continuation 
classes were formed. The Technical Board has established 
a system of scholarships by which a ladder is placed in readi- 
ness for any boy or girl who can climb it. There are six 
hundred small scholarships given every year by exami- 
nation to boys and girls who have passed the sixth standard 
in the elementary schools; they are in value £8 for the first 
year, and £12 for the second year. After two years the 


second ladder is reached. The student who has shown, so 
far, that he is able to climb the ladder and would now give 
further proof of ability, must be under sixteen, and his 
parents must not be in the receipt of more than £400 a year. 
He may then gain by open competition a scholarship giving 
him free education at some recognized college of higher edu- 
cation, together with about £30 a year in money. After 
three years, if he is able to climb still higher, — ^the number 
of competitors now narrows, — he has a grand chance before 
him; he may win a scholarship giving him free education 
at any university he may choose, with £60 a year, tenable for 
three years. There are at present many such scholars in 
residence at Oxford, Cambridge, and other universities. 

In addition to these, the Board gives scholarships for art, 
for science and technology, for horticulture, for sanitary 
science, and for domestic economy. Besides this industrial 
help, the Board provides lectures, especially for clerks, on 
commercial subjects. 

It will be understood that by means of these scholarships 
a boy may work his way, at little or no cost to his friends, 
from the position of craftsman to that of a graduate in 
honors of Oxford and Cambridge. Think what this means ! 
The boy is lifted straight from the life of manual labor, 
very likely monotonous labor, which is the lot of most, in 
which he can never attain to fortune, honor, or distinction, 
to the life of intellectual work ; his companions will be those 
who stand in the very forefront of science, literature, and 
art. A fellowship at his college will enable him to be called 
to the bar; he may then aspire, with reasonable hopes of 
success, to the honors of Queen's counsel. Judge, Solicitor- 
General, Chief Justice, or even Lord Chancellor. He may go 
into the Church, and look forward, if with learning he has 
acquired administrative power and preaching power, and, 
let us add, manners, to becoming a bishop; he may remain 

at the university, a lecturer and teacher of his own subject; 


he may become a professor of science, or he may become an 
expounder of history. He may become a physician or a 
surgeon. He may become a journalist, a dramatist, a nov- 
elist, a poet. Whatever line he enters upon, he has climbed, 
by means of these three ladders, up into the higher ranks, 
with all that the word means. He has become, if he chooses, 
— and he cannot help choosing, — ^a gentleman. The poor 
lad who climbs up does not always, it is true, become a gen- 

The New Model Dwellings. 

tleman. Sometimes there remain still clinging to him cer- 
tain rusticities; sometimes ancestral traits, such as a thirst 
for strong drink, seize him. As a rule, however, the lad 
who has climbed remains, he and his children after him, in 
the rank, so dear to the British soul, of undoubted gentility. 
If the sins of the father are visited upon the children, then, 
surely the achievements and the virtues of the father shall 
bring their i-ewards to the children — ^yea, even unto the third 
and fourth generation. 

After the parish work and the work of education I had 
placed that of housing, but this has already been sufficiently 


The care of the sick comes next upon my list. There is a 
continual cry ascending to the regions of the rich concern- 
ing the insufficiency of hospital endowments. There is cer- 
tainly no city better provided with hospitals than London, 
nor any city where more money is annually subscribed for 
their maintenance, nor any where the medical staff are paid 
so little and do so much. In East London there is the 
magnificent foundation of the London Hospital, which re- 
ceives 11,500 in-patients every year, has an endowment of 
£20,000 a year, and an additional income, from voluntary 
subscriptions, of £40,000 a year. The story of the Chil- 
dren's Hospital and its beginnings in the hamlet of Ratcliffe 
has been already told. And there are, in addition, "homes" 
of all kinds, creches for infants, nursing societies, and dis- 
pensaries. One mentions these in passing, but a catalogue 
of endowments is not necessary. 

Among the organizations for help must not be forgotten 
the fraternities for mutual assistance, such as the Odd Fel- 
lows, the Foresters, and the Hearts of Oak. These asso- 
ciations do not belong exclusively to East London, but they 
have extensive branches here, and are, I believe, well man- 
aged and on sound principles. They offer assistance in times 
of misfortune, medical aid in sickness, and care of the widows 
and fatherless. In this place they can only be mentioned. 

For the women, a very large society is that called the 
M. A. B. Y. S. — i. c, the "Metropolitan Association for Be- 
friending Young Servants." It began by befriending young 
servants from the workhouse — girls generally friendless and 
very forlorn — ^and has now extended its work to include all 
young servants. Every lady in the society undertakes the 
care of one or more servants, whom she visits or invites to 
her own house on the Sunday "out." These friendships 
are often lifelong, and produce the best possible results. 

The position of the workhouse girl is sometimes very piti- 
ful. One such girl recently came to my knowledge. In 


this case the girl had been picked up as a baby in the streets ; 
she had no family, no name, no friends, no birthday even. 
When she found a friend in the M. A. B. Y. S. she asked 
permission to take her friend's birthday for her own, and 
to call her friend's cook her aunt, so that she might feel that 
she too could enjoy, if only in imagination, what all the rest 
of the world possesses — ^a birthday and a family. 

There are six or seven free libraries in East London. Who 
was the benefactor to humanity who first invented or discov- 
ered the free library? Who was the philanthropist who 
first advocated the free library? I do not know. But when 
one realizes what the free library means one is carried away 
by admiration and gratitude. By means of the free library 
we actually give to every person, however poor, — we give 
him, as a free gift, — ^the whole of the literature of the world. 
If he were a millionaire he could not acquire a greater gift 
that the poorest lad enjoys who lives near a good free library. 
He can take books home with him; he can study any sub- 
ject he likes, if he is a student; or he may read for his own 
pleasure only, and for amusement. More than this, since 
none but good and worthy literature should be admitted to 
the free library the readers cannot use its treasures without 
forming, purifying, and elevating their taste. Now, taste 
in literature leads naturally, it is believed by some, to corre- 
sponding preferences as regards the major and the minor vir- 
tues and their opposites. For my own part, I regard the 
librarian of a free library as a guardian of morals, a censor, 
a teacher; those who receive books of him receive the con- 
tinual admonitions of the wisest and the best of men. A 
course of Shakspere is in itself an education; a course of 
Scott may be said to teach history; and a course of the best 
fiction in our language teaches what is meant by the grand 
old name of gentleman. I look for the time when the de- 
mand for books by the mass of the public will be in itself a 
selection of the best and finest; when it will be impossible 


to reproach the people, as is done to-day, with buying the 
ephemeral trash that is offered at a penny, and neglecting the 
scholars and the poets and the wise ones of ancient days. 
The free library is doing for the working-people what the 
circulating library cannot do for its readers who go in broad- 
cloth and in silk. In the time to come, in the immediate 
future, it will perhaps be the latter who read the rubbish 
and the former who will create the demand for the nobler 
and the higher work. 

Mention has already been made of the Sunday afternoon 
lecture. Other attempts have been made to brighten the 
Sunday afternoon, always in winter a difficult time to get 
through. There are organ recitals at the People's Palace, 
social meetings, with talk and sometimes lantern views, and 
short addresses. 

Perhaps the work that is done in East London for the 
waifs and strays is the most remarkable, as it is certainly 
the most interesting. 

Those who have read Defoe's "Colonel Jack" will remem- 
ber the wonderful picture which he presents of the London 
street boy. That boy has never ceased to live in and about 
the streets. Sometimes he sleeps in the single room rented 
by his father, but the livelong day he spends in the streets; 
he picks up, literally, his food; he picks it up from the cos- 
ter's barrow, from the baker's counter, from the fishmonger's 
stall, when nobody is looking. For such boys as these there 
are Bamardo's Homes, where waifs and strays to any 
number are admitted, brought up, trained to a trade, and then 
sent out to the colonies. Five thousand children are in these 
homes. The history is very simple. Dr. Barnardo, a young 
Irish medical student, came to London with the intention of 
giving up his own profession and becoming a preacher. He 
began by preaching in the streets ; he picked up a child, wan- 
dering, homeless and destitute, and took it home to his lodg- 
ings; he found another and another, and took them home 


too. So it began; the children became too many for his 
own resources ; they still kept dropping in ; he took a house 
for them, and let it be known that he wanted support. The 

Dr. Barnardo's Home, Stepney Causeway. 

rest was easy. He has always received as much support as 
he wanted, and he has already trained and sent out to the 
colonies nearly ten thousand children. There are also many 
less important homes and associations for indigent children, 
homes for homeless boys, homes, refuges, and societies for 


girls; industrial homes, female protection societies, orphan- 
ages, in long array. Most of these societies are, however, 
limited as to income ; a great part of their funds goes in man- 
agement expenses. If they would be persuaded to unite, a 
great deal more might be done, while each society, with its 
honorary officers, could be carried on in accordance with the 
intentions and ideas of its founders and supporters. 

Homes and schools for the boys and girls, hospitals for 
the adult, there remain the aged. Dotted about all over 
London there are about a hundred and fifty almshouses; of 
these about half are situated in and about East London. 
Not that the people of East London have been more philan- 
thropic in their endowments than those of the west, but, be- 
fore there was any city of East London, almshouses were 
planted here on account of the salubrity and freshness of the 
air and the cheapness of the ground. Some of these have 
been moved farther afield, their original sites being built 
over. The People's Palace, for instance, is built upon the 
site of the Bancroft almshouses, founded in 1728 for the 
maintenance and education of one hundred poor. Their 
original house has gone, but the charity is still maintained. 

I have always been astonished to think that this most ex- 
cellent form of charity, one least of all liable to be abused, 
has gone out of fashion. If I were rich I should rejoice 
in creating and founding an almshouse for the admission 
and maintenance of as many old men and old women as I 
could afford, or as the college which I should build would 
admit. There are still some delightful almshouses left in 
London, although so many have been removed; those that 
remain stand beside the crowded thoroughfares, each one a 
lesson in charity and pity ; there is the stately Trinity Alms- 
house in the Whitechapel road, with its two courts and its 
chapel and its statue of the founder and the good old men, 
the master mariners, who live there ; and close beside, unless 
it has been lately removed, an almshouse of the humbler 


kind, but quite homely and venerable. My almshouse, if I 
were privileged to build and endow one, should have its 
refectory, as well as its chapel; my old people should have 
their dinner together, and their common hall for society in 
the winter evenings ; they should have, as well, their gardens 
and their quadrangle and the sense of belonging to a foun- 
dation beautiful in its buildings, as well as charitable in 
its objects. 

The existing almshouses by themselves go very little way 
toward keeping the aged out of the workhouse; but there 
are other aids which carry us on a little farther, societies 
which give annuities and pensions to various persons. On 
the list more than a hundred different trades are represented. 
Among them is one for flower girls and water-cress venders. 
This, however, despite its unpretending title, has g^own into 
a very large and important society. Under this title are 
conducted industrial and servants' training homes, a cottage 
hospital, a home for waif girls, an orphanage, a shelter and 
clubroom for street flower-sellers, and a seaside holiday home 
for blind and helpless and crippled girls, ineligible for ordi- 
nary homes — ^the whole with an income of over £7000, and 
giving assistance to 12,000 girls a year. This, like the asso- 
ciation for befriending young servants, has g^own gradually 
out of small beginnings, and in a space of thirty years has 
attained to its present dimensions. 

So numerous are the societies and the charities of every 
kind that one thinks there ought not to be any distress, any 
destitution, any vice in this City of London. Alas ! It is a 
city of five millions, and out of this multitude there are many 
who will not work, many who deliberately desire the life 
of vice and crime, and still more who, if the Helping Hand 
offers relief without question or condition, will swell the 
numbers of those who are wilfully helpless and deliberately 
destitute. The power of working is easily lost, and with 
difficulty regained. The administration of charitable funds 
is a most difficult task. 


Fourteen years ago, in a time of exceptional distress, the 
Lord Mayor, in the kindness of his unreflecting heart, opened 
a subscription for the relief of the unemployed. A very 
large sum was collected in a few days. Of course this 
became known not only over all London, but over the whole 
country. Then there began a mighty migration ; wave after 
wave of hungry applicants arrived by every train; the glo- 
rious prospect of obtaining a gift of money without doing 
anything for it attracted thousands; they gave up work in 
order to be eligible; they magnified the amount of the gift, 
in anticipation; when the day of distribution arrived they 
fought for admission, they threatened to brain the distribu- 
tors, they took tickets which entitled them to food and sold 
them at the public house; in the end that act of charity 
developed and strengthened the pauper spirit in hundreds of 
thousands; those who had been working for the better exer- 
cise of charity were in despair; to this day the memory of 
that day of free gifts, without question and without condi- 
tions, lies in the mind of the working-man who will not 
work, and nerves him for another spell of idleness and 

In this attempt to stay the hand that grants the unthink- 
ing dole the Charity Organization Society stands in the fore- 
front. It has offices and branches everywhere; it intervenes 
between the rich man and the poor; it says to the former, 
"Never give him money, you will only keep him poor ; make 
him understand that money means conditions of work and 
effort; do not turn the unemployed into a pauper." To the 
workhouses the Charity Organization Society says, "Do not 
g^ve outdoor relief; do not accustom the sturdy poor to look 
for doles of bread and orders on the butcher. Make them 
go into the house if they want help." It is better to be cruel 
when kindness means weakness, and doles mean pauperizing. 
The temptation to give is like the temptation to take opiates. 
To give relieves the discomfort of knowing how others are 
suffering. To give brings food to the children, fire to the 


hearth; it also enables the breadwinner to spend in drink 
what he should take home to his wife, and it makes the wives 
and children accustomed to receive alms, and to look to alms 
for the supplies which are only deficient through their own 
improvidence and vice. The Charity Organization Society 
is known and detested by every thriftless loafer, every beg- 
gar, every impostor, every begging-letter writer in the coun- 
try ; it is also known and detested by that large class of sen- 
timentalists who give money wherever there is none, who 
bribe the women by doles to come to church, and who inter- 
pret certain words of our Lord, as they were interpreted by 
the monastic houses, into an injunction to give without ques- 
tion and to relieve without condition. 

I come next to a form of philanthopic endeavor concern- 
ing which it is difficult to speak unless in terms of extrava- 
gant admiration. 

I mean the Settlement, which is spreading and taking 
root in all great cities both in America and in Great 

The Settlement very properly began in East London, as the 
place which stood most in need of it. There are now some 
thirteen or fourteen Settlements in London, of which six, I 
believe, belong to East London. There are Settlements in 
Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, and Edinburgh. There are, 
I believe, speaking under correction, more than twenty in the 
greater cities of the United States. 

It is now fifteen years since the first creation of the Settle- 
ment. What is it? What was at first proposed? What 
has it done ? We may answer these questions by the help of 
Canon Barnett, its real founder. (See "University and So- 
cial Settlements," chapter ii.) 

The Settlement sprang out of a profound distrust of the 
machinery by which the Helping Hand could reach the i>eo- 
ple. It seemed to many that this machinery hindered rather 
than helped. The Charity Organization Society was prov- 


ing with pitiless statistics and cruel logic that the widespread 
system of doles was crushing the spirit of independence in 
the poor; the experience of the present, as well as that of 
the past taught them that laws cannot touch the restless and 
the improvident; they saw that refuges might receive the 
unhappy, but could not touch or remove the cause of unhap- * 
piness; they discovered that societies for relieving the poor 
were too often machines which blindly acted by a hard-and- 
fast rule, maintained many officials, and made no attempt at 
prevention or improvement. Also they saw that with all 
the machinery of the parish and despite the self-denying work 
of the clergy there had been little less than a complete failure 
in inspiring among the people the faith and hope of religion 
and its self-restraining powers. 

There was also, thanks to certain influences which it would 
take us long to discuss, a growing recognition of certain 
evils, such as the separation of the rich from the poor, the 
withholding from the poor of so many things enjoyed by 
the rich, the condescension of rich to poor, an exclusive spirit 
on the one side and a natural resentment on the other, and 
a conviction that something should be done to resist these 
evils. In other words, the feeling was gradually growing, 
especially among certain groups of young men of Oxford 
and Cambridge, that civilization should belong not to one 
class but to all classes; that the things which we believe to 
be the most important — knowledge, art, manners, beauty, 
purity, unselfishness — ^should be made possible for the work- 
ing-man, if he will accept them, as well as for the rich. The 
root idea, therefore, of a Settlement is the example, the teach- 
ing and the maintenance of what we call the life of culture 
among the working-classes. 

By example — for the members of the Settlement live among 
them, go about with them, live in the sight of all The work- 
ing-man dines with them, spends the evening with them, talks 
with them. He finds that their mode of life is simple; that 


the luxury he has been taught to believe as the common rule 
among the easy class does not exist among these members 
of that class ; that cleanliness, using the word to cover every- 
thing — the home, the meals, the person, the daily habit — is 
the first thing necessary; that knowledge may be pursued 
for its own sake, and not because it has a commercial value 
and is saleable; and that these men and women have come 
to live in his quarter without the least intention of g^\'ing 
him any money or of taking off his shoulders any one of his 
own responsibilities. 

Next, by teaching. The Settlement has its library, its 
class-rooms, its lecture-room, and its fifteen hundred stu- 
dents — ^yet it is not a college. The residents do not all 
teach. The visitor thinks perhaps that if they are not come 
to teach, their object is to preach temperance and to get a 
hold over the criminal classes. Nothing of the kind; the 
Settlement is not a mission. Nor, again, is it a Polytechnic, 
despite the manifold studies that are carried on. The lads 
of the Polytechnic learn a trade by which to live ; the students 
at the Settlement make a study of some science. Nor is it in 
the narrow sense a charitable institution. In a Settlement 
every resident carries on his own life in his own way; he 
does not stoop to the ways of the people around; he is not 
their benefactor; he is not a superior person; he is just one 
man among the men all round him into whose interests he 
enters and whose ideas he endeavors to understand. 

In all countries governed by our institutions or by those 
which have our institutions as their basis the duty of the indi- 
vidual citizen to his town and to his state is assumed as essen- 
tial for the government of the people by the people. A man 
who deliberately abstains from exercising the right to vote, 
who leaves to any who please to snatch it the government 
of his own city, is little less than a traitor to the cause of 
freedom; he enjoys rights which have been won for him by 
his fathers, but refuses to watch over and to defend those 


rights. It is the work of the Settlement to teach this duty 
and to set the example. The constitution of a municipaHty 
assumes that citizens will give, freely and without pay, such 
time as is wanted for the conduct of the municipal affairs. 
In local government the Settlement carries on a quiet work 
which is perhaps more effective than its classes and its lec- 
tures. The members become guardians and vestrymen ; they 

Mile End Almshouses. 

sit on school boards, they are school visitors, they inspire 
every branch of local government with the sense of duty and 
of principle. For the members themselves the Settlement 
teaches and requires, as Canon Earnett points out, "the sur- 
render of self-wili and of will worship," 

For those who come under the influence of the Settlement 
it destroys class suspicion, it removes prejudices; the working- 
men discover that those whom they call, in a lump, the rich 
are not what their radical orators of Whitechapel Waste 
believe and teach ; they make friends where they thought to 
find only enemies; they learn the things in which the rich 


are happier than themselves — ^the cleanly life, the power of 
acquiring knowledge, the possession of, or the access to, art 
of all kinds, more gentle manners, greater self-restraint, and 
in the cases before their eyes unselfishness and the power of 
working without pay, without praise, without apparent re- 
ward of any kind. Above all, there is no hidden motive; 
Canon Bamett's church stands beside the Settlement of Toyn- 
bee Hall, but there is no invitation, no condition, no pressure 
put upon the people to step out of the Settlement into the 
church. There is no teaching of politics ; there is no attempt 
to introduce shibboleths ; there are no bribes, unless it is the 
pressure of the friendly hand and the pulse of the sympa- 
thetic heart; the evenings spent with gentlewomen and gen- 
tlemen, the patient teaching, the lecture by a man whose 
name is known over the whole world — unless these things 
be considered bribes, then the Settlement offers none. 

In education, then, the Settlement has classes which learn 
all kinds of sciences, but not for trade purposes; it has 
lectures by great, or at least by distinguished, men ; it offers 
exhibitions of pictures the same as those presented to West 
End people; it encourages the formation of clubs and asso- 
ciations of all kinds; it opens the library to everyone; it 
leads the way in local government; it offers recreation that 
shall be really recreative; it enrolls the boys in athletic clubs, 
and gives them something to aim at and to think about; it 
gathers in the girls and keeps them from the dangers of 
long evenings with nothing to do ; it is a center for the study 
of the labor problems and difficulties of all kinds. In one 
word, the Settlements of East London, where I know most 
of their workings, are set up as lamps in a dark place; they 
are not like an ordinary lamp which at a distance becomes 
a mere glimmer ; the lamp of the Settlement, the more widely 
its light penetrates, the farther the darkness recedes; tlie 
deeper is the gloom, the more brightly shines the light of 
this lamp so set and so illuminated and so maintained. 


Should the workhouse be considered as any part of the 
work of the Helping Hand ? It should be, but it cannot be. 
Whatever the state touches in the way of charity or philan- 
thropy it corrupts and destroys, whether it is the workhouse 
or the prison or the casual ward. As for the London work- 
house, it is simply a terrible place. It is a huge barrack; it 
contains over a thousand inmates; they are all alike herded 
and huddled together, the respectable and the disreputable; 
there is no distinction between misfortune and the natural 
consequence of a wasted life. The system is a barbarous 
survival of a time when the system was not so barbarous be- 
cause the respectable poor were much rougher, coarser, ruder, 
and nearer to the disreputable poor. It must be reformed al- 
together. There ought not, to begin with, to be this kind of 
barrack life for the respectable poor; there should be muni- 
cipal almshouses. Meantime the poor folk themselves hate 
the workhouse; they loathe the thought of it; they are 
wretched in the shelter of it; you may see the old men and 
the old women sitting in gloomy silence, brooding over their 
own wreck ; they have nothing else to do ; they are prisoners ; 
they cannot go in and out as they please; they are under 
strict rule, a rule as rigid as that of any prison ; they have no 
individuality ; they all try to cheat the officers by smuggling 
in forbidden food; they are at the mercy of Bumble, who 
may be a very dreadful person, not comic in the least. The 
most unhappy are those who should be the objects of the 
greatest pity, the brokendown, able-bodied man, too often 
bent with rheumatism — the English agony — or some other 
incurable disease. Such an one enters into this place, where 
all hope must be abandoned ; we use the phrase so often that 
we hardly understand what it means. No hope at forty but 
to lead the rest of life without work, without change, with- 
out comforts ; to be deprived of tobacco, beer, meat, society, 
mental occupation; to live on among the other wrecks of 
humanity, with so much bread every day, so much suet pud- 


ding, so much cocoa, so much pea soup, so much tea. Can 
the workhouse be truly called part and parcel of the work 
of the Helping Hand? 

Let us end, as we began, with the lower levels. Very 
far, indeed, below the working-men who attend the lectures 
and the drawing-room of Toynbee Hall are the submerged 
and the casuals, the dockers, the wanderers, and the crimi- 
nals at large. What is done for them ? They are, of course, 
looked after with the utmost zeal and attention by the police, 
by the officers of the vestry, and by the magistrates. But 
these agencies are not exactly reformatory in their character. 

I have spoken of the Settlement as one of two forces now- 
acting upon the mass of the people which seem to promise 
the most powerful influence upon the future. The second of 
these two forces I believe to be the social work of the Sal- 
vation Army. I am not speaking of their religious efforts; 
they do not appeal, as a rule, to the educated; on the other 
hand, I would not speak a word in disrespect of efforts which 
I know to be genuine and which I know to have been at- 
tended with signal success in the reclaiming of thousands 
from evil ways. 

The first step in the social work of the Salvation Army is 
the opening of a lodging-house of the cheapest kind. So 
far, against great opposition, they have, I believe, succeeded 
in keeping it free from the ordinary law as regards common 
lodging-houses — ^viz., the visit of the policeman whenever he 
chooses either to see that there is no disorder or because he 
"wants" somebody, and so in the middle of the night tramps 
round the dormitories, turning his bull's eye upon the faces 
of the sleepers. It is most important that the poor creatures 
in the place should feel that in that shelter at least they 
will not be hunted down. The men have to pay for their 
lodging — the price of a bed varies from twopence to four- 
pence; the beds are laid in bunks; they are covered with 
American cloth; they are provided each with a thick blan- 


ket; foot-baths and complete baths are ready for them; a 
cup of cocoa and a large piece of bread cost a trifle; they 
are received in a light, warm, and spacious hall ; they are in- 
vited every evening to join in a short service, with singing 
and an address. In the morning those of them who choose 
lay their cares before the superintendent, who sends them 
on to the Labor Bureau, where in most cases, if the man is 
willing to work, something is found for him. 

They have, next, workshops where all kinds of work are 
undertaken and turned out; homeless and friendless lads are 
received in these workshops and taught trades. Whatever 
may be the previous record of a case, the man received is 
treated as a friend; his past is regarded as already finished 
and done with, perhaps already atoned. He is made to 
understand that if he would return to the world he must 
work for every step ; by work alone he is to get food, shelter, 
and clothes; beside him at every step stands the officer in 
whose charge he has been placed. He is constantly watched, 
without being allowed to entertain any suspicion that his 
conduct is under careful supervision. 

If you visit one of these workshops you will be astonished 
at the show of cheerful industry. Everyone seems doing 
his very best. Some of this apparent zeal is genuine; some 
of it is inspired by passing emotion and evanescent passion 
or repentance; out of the whole number so many per cent, 
give up the work and go back to the old life. But some 

I have already spoken of the English prison. The cry 
of the wretched prisoner goes up continually, but in vain. 
The long agony and torture, especially to the young, of the 
solitary cell, the enforced silence, the harsh punishments, 
the insufficient food, the general orders which will allow 
of no relaxation in any case, the system which turns the most 
humane of warders into a machine for depriving his prisoner 
of everything that makes a man — ^these things crush the un- 



happy victim. After a long sentence — ^say of two years- 

this poor wretch comes out broken ; he has no longer any will, 
any resource, any courage; he is like a cur whipped and 
kicked into a thing that follows when it is bidden. 

Let me again recall the appearance of these unhappy crea- 
tures on the morning of their deliverance. They sit spirit- 
less, obedient, not speaking to each other or to their new- 
friends, waiting for some fresh order. It is pitiful to look 
at the semblance of manhood and to think that this — ^this is 
the method adopted by the nation in its wisdom in order to 
punish the crime and to reform the criminal. When the 
sentence is over they escort him to the gates of the prison; 
they throw the doors open wide and say, "Go, and sin no 
more." What is the wretched man to do, but to go and sin 
again ? No one will employ him. He has lost his skill and 
sleight of hand. He has lost his old pride in his work; he 
cares for nothing now. It is a hard world for many ; it is a 
black, hopeless, despairing world for the man who once enters 
or comes out of an English prison. There is a poem, writ- 
ten the other day, by one who endured this awful sentence — 
a scholar and a man of culture : 

" With midnight always in one's heart, 

And twilight in one's cell, 
We turn the crank, we tear the rope, 

Each in his separate hell. 
And the silence is more awful far. 

Than the sound of a brazen bell." 

** And never a human voice comes near, 

To speak a gentle word. 
And the eye that watches through the door 

Is pitiless and hard; 
And by all forgot, we rot and rot, 

With soul and body manred." 


The oflficers of the Salvation Army's Home welcome their 
guests with warm hand grasps and friendly words. What, 
however, is to be done to find them work to go on with? 
Not far from the home there is a disused chapel; in this 
place some thirty or forty of the discharged prisoners are 
engaged in sorting waste paper. Others go out and collect 
it; there is paper of all sorts — fine note-paper, coarse paper, 
packing paper, newspaper, everything. The men sort this in 
crates, and so earn a few pence a day. It is a rude begin- 
ning for the new life; many of them lose heart; the uphill 
fight, the long strain of patience until work of a better kind 
is found is too much for them; they relapse, they disappear 
in the streets, they are seen no more for a time, until one 
day they are met again at the prison gates and are led back to 
the home they deserted, where they meet with the same wel- 
come and where they are encouraged to make another at- 

Some five and thirty miles from London on the east, where 
the coast of Essex rises in a low hill facing the Thames estu- 
ary and overlooking an island which has been reclaimed from 
the mud, there lies a large farm, which is unlike any other 
farm in the country. It is, in fact, the colony of the Salva- 
tion Army. Here they bring men whom they have dragged 
out of the mire and the depths. They bring here the clerk 
who has ruined himself by a loose life, the working-man who 
has fallen by reason of drink, the weak creature who has ha- 
bitually taken the Easy Way, the criminal from the prison, the 
sturdy rogue, the slouching thief — they are all brought here 
and they are turned on to the farm. There are between two 
and three hundred of them. When they come here they are 
for the most part unable to do a day's work ; they are unable 
to lift a spade or to wield a hoe. They are set to light work 
until they recover a little strength and muscle — there is work 
of all kinds on a farm. On this farm they grow fruit and 


vegetables; they have dairies, and make butter and cheese; 
they have cattle and sheep and pigs and poultry. And they 
have a very large brick-making industry. The men live in 
small detached barracks ; there are not many rules of conduct ; 
they are paid by the piece, and they buy their own food, which 
is sold at prices as low as will pay for the cost ; they may 
smoke in the evening if they please; they may read ; they may 
go to bed when they please ; they are not perpetually exhorted 
to religion, but they are made to feel that the house rests on a 
religious foundation. 

How does the farm get on as a commercial venture? Does 
it pay its way? To begin with, it belongs to the Salvation 
Army; there is consequently no rent to pay; against this ad- 
vantage must be set the fact that the men, when they are first 
sent down, are practically useless, and that it takes three or 
four months before their strength returns to them. The 
farm, however, pays its way, or very nearly. If it did not, 
it would still, with certain limits, be an economical concern. 
For, if we consider, every one of these men, if left to himself 
and his own promptings, would cost the country, including 
his maintenance, without counting the loss of his labor and 
including the expenses of prisons and police to take care of 
him, at least f loo a year. We have, therefore, a very simple 
sum. How much can the colony afford to lose every year, 
and yet remain an economical gain to the country? On a 
roll of 250 there is the gain to the community of £25,000 a 
year. If, therefore, the colony shows a deficit of £3000 a 
year the country is still a gainer of £22,000. Any one may 
carry on this little calculation. Suppose, for instance, that 
even fifty per cent, of the cases prove failures ; the remaining 
fifty save the country £12,500 a year. And, what is much 
more, they, being honest themselves, bring up their children 
to ways of honesty — ^their children and their grandchildren 
for generation after generation, and who can calculate the 
gain in a single century ? 

" The Bridge of Hope," a Well-known East End Night Refuge. 


I do not speak here of other branches of the Salvation 
Army's social work. To receive the discharged prisoner, to 
find him work, to train lads to steady work, to give back to 
the soil the wastrels who were devouring and spoiling honest 
men's goods in the cities, to restore to a man his pride and 
his self-respect, to give him back his manhood, to fill him 
with new hopes and a new purpose — ^this is surely a great 
and a noble work. 

On more than one occasion I have publicly testified to my 
own belief in the efficacy of the social work of the Salva- 
tion Army. There is one point on which it contrasts with 
every other effort either of philanthropy or of religion. The 
work is carried on by a vast multitude of eleven thousand 
officers, men and women, young men and maidens. They 
are bound by no vows; but they might, if they chose, wear 
the rope with the triple knots of the Franciscans. For they 
follow, without vows, the three Franciscan virtues of obe- 
dience, poverty, and chastity. Add to these, if it is a virtue, 
total abstinence from strong drink. They go where they are 
sent, they do what they are ordered to do, they carry out the 
militar}' duties of obedience, they draw pay barely enough 
for the most modest standard of living, and their lives are 
blameless on the score of purity. So long as these virtues 
remain with them, so long will they prevail. If, as happened 
with the Franciscans, the praise of the world, which certainly 
is coming to the Army as well, turns their heads and corrupts 
their zeal, if they take money and make money by their work, 
then the social side of the Salvation Army will, like so many 
human systems, fall to the ground and be trampled in the 
dust. At present they are all poor together; poor and not 
dissatisfied; not a man or woman among the whole eleven 
thousand has a bank account of his own; they all live from 
hand to mouth, and when the word comes from headquarters 
that there is to be a week of self-denial they live for that 
week as they can, without any pay. And if we are fain 



to confess that their work is good for the unfortunates, whom 
they chiefly befriend, what are we to say or to think of the 
good which their work confers upon themselves? Surely, 
the Helping Hand raises its owner as well as those whom it 
lifts. The twopenny doss-house, the refuge, the home, the 
rescue, the colony — do they not also raise and rescue and 
strengthen the people who administer and direct them? 
Matthew Arnold once visited East London in verse : 

'< I met a preacher whom I knew and said : 
'III and overworked, how fare you in this scene ? ' 
* Bravely ! * said he ; * for I of late have been 
Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the living bread.' 
O human soul ! as long as thou canst so 
Set up a mark of everlasting light, 
Above the howling senses* ebb and flow, 
To cheer thee and to right thee if thou roam — 
Not with lost toil thou laborest through the night ! 
Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st indeed thy home." 



Abney, LadVt 274 

Abney, Sir Thomas, 274 

Aguilar, Grace, 276 

Audn, Dr., 275 

Aliens in London, 187 

Anarchists, 206 

Appeals for day in country, 307 

August holiday, 303 

Bad building, bribery of inspectors, 220 

Bancroft almshouses, 341 

Barbauld, Mrs., 275 

Barkinfi", 104, III 

6arnarao*s homes, 339 

Barrack Life, 223, 224; and Salvation 

Army, 224 
Beating the bounds, 60 
Beds hired out, 212 
Bethnal Green crowded district, 221 
Bicycle round London, 310 
Billingsgate, 52, 54, 55 
Bishop's Manor, 4 ; Palace, 7 
Blackwall Basin, 95 
Booth, General, 225 
Boundaries of East London, 4 
Bow Creek, 99 
Bradwell, 109 
Breathing places, 302 
Bridge, first London, 53 

Casual ward, stupidity of, 249 

Census, Religious, 37 

Centenarian, The, 201 

Chapels on the wall, 1 10 

Chapels on bridges and walls, 1 10 

Charity Organisation Society, 343 

Charter House, 280 

Chaucer, 47, 55 

Children's Day in country, 307 

Chinese in London, 204 

Church of England, 331 

City, 257 

Qapton, 267 

Club of factory girls, 142 ; of the baser 

Colet, Dean, 7 


Continuation Schools, 333 
Coopers' Company, 82 
Cromwell, Major, 273 
Cromwell, Oliver, 271 
Crowded part of Bethnal Green, 221 
Custom House, 55 

Dagenham, III ; whitebait dinner. Ill 
Dancing, none in East London, 313 
Day in country for children, 307 
Defoe, 47, 274 
Discharged prisoners, 241 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 275 ; Isaac, 275 
Docks, St. Katharine, 62 ; London, 68 ; 
West India, 95 ; Blackwall, 95 ; Mill- 
wall, 9< ; attractions for boys, 96 
Dogs, Isie of, 91 
Drury Lane, Barracks in, 222 
Dutch in Spitalfields, 192 ; Church, 192 

East End Parks, 304 

East Ham, 7, 213 

East London, history mostly a blank, 3 ; 
boundaries of, 4; nature of ground, 
4 ; collection of villages, 8 ; no cen- 
ter, 8 ; not a city, 8 ; no newspapers, 
8 ; no people of fashion, 8 ; filled with 
working class, 8; population of, 8; 
no hotds, 9; New Zealander in, 9; 
no restaurants, 9; rapid rise, 10; a 
manufacturing city, 10 ; not a trading 
city, 10 ; resembles Old London, 10 ; 
no book shops, 13 ; no literary power, 
14; no garrison, 14; no recruiting, 14; 
monotony, 15 ; meanness, JK ; streets 
all alike, 15 ; no old buildings, 16 ; 
an unlovely dty, 16; fine roads, 17; 
life not monotonous, 16, 17; city of 
many crafts, 21 ; distribution of trades, 
22 ; factories in, 23 ; proportion of pro- 
fessions to crafts, 24 ; the curse of la- 
bor, 27; division of labor, 28; demand 
for skiUed labor, 29 ; wages in, 30; 
sweating, 30 ; co-operative labor, 33 ; 
an experiment, 33; not a slum, 30; 
a hive of workers, 116; Huxley on. 



127; ministering ladies, 12S; fringe 
of, 255 ; Matthew Arnold on, 358 

Easter Monday, 290, 291, 295 

Eighteenth century, 325 

Emigres, 1S9 

Eppmg Forest, 256 

Epping Hunt, 291, 301 

Excursion trains, 303 

Excursion Dock, 78 ; escape of a man, 

FactoiT girl. Chapter V. 

Fairy ughts, 239 

Fight near Tower, 326 

Fleetwood, Cromwell's son-in-law, 271 

Flower Girls* Society, 342 

Foreshore, rescue of, no 

Fraternities, J37 

French Revolution, 188 

French in Spitalfields, 188 

Fringe of East London, 255 

Future — the man who looks forward, 


Gambling, Chinese, 205 
Gardens in London, 304 
George's, St, in the East, 72, 73 
German clerks, 191 ; Jews, 190, 192 
Ground, lie of, 4 

Hackney churchyard, 263; Old Town, 
263 ; i8th-centary houses, 264 ; Bar- 
ber's bam, 272 ; Darnley, 272 ; Cap- 
tain Woodcock, 273 ; Major Crom- 
well, 27j; Hartopp, Sir John, 274; 
John Howard, 276; Andr6, 277; 
Princess Elizabeth, 279; Sir Walter 
Raleigh, 279 ; Sir Thomas More, 279 ; 
Thomas Sutton, 280; John Ward, 
281 ; Lucas, 281 

Ham, West, 7 

Hampstead Heath, 292; on Easter 
Monday, 295 

Hangman's Acre, 79 

Heckford, Dr., 85, 86 

Helping Hand, the. Chapter XTI. ; his- 
tory of, 319; and the beggar, 320; 
and St. Martin, 321 ; new develop- 
ments, 321 

Henry, Matthew, 275 

Hewhng, Benjamin, 273 

Holidays, 289 

Homerton, High Street, 267 

Hopping, 308 

Hospitals, J37 

Housing of the people, 212; and Lon- 
don County Council, 225 

Huguenots in London, 188, 192 

Hunting ri^ts, 7 

Huxley on East London, 127 

Idlers on London Bridge, 42 

Immigration, 190 

Increase of population, 213 

Industrial villac;es, 225 

Irish colony, 36 

Isle of Dogs, 91 ; origin of name, 92 

Italians, 191, 203 

[ack the Painter, 283 

[ay, Osborne, the Rev., 329 

[ewish Quarter, 193 

[ews, alleged superiority, 194; trained 
intellect, 194; unpopularity of, 195; 
Sunday morning with, 196 ; salesmen, 
196; physical degeneration, 199; ori- 
ental note, 200; the, old man, 201 ; 
the Synagogue, 202 

Journalism and the gaol bird, 242 

Judenhetze, 195 

Key of the street, 155 
Key, price of the, 211 

Laboratories at People's Palace, 334 

Labor aristocracy, 119 

Ladies in East London, 128 

Lads in the country, 307 

Lawlessness in i8th century, 325 

Lea River, 7 

Libraries, free, 338 

liz, the baby, 119 

London Street, 119, 120; home, 120; 
furniture of home, 120; hardening 
the baby, 122; parents of, 122; food 
of, 121, 122, 123; beer, 123; the 
sdiool, 124; washing of, 124; leaves 
school, 127; forgets her teaching, 
127; appearance of, 128; character 
of, 129; Ignorance of, 129, 130 ; con- 
versation and ideas, 130; interests of 
place, 132; sailor cousin, 133; Christ- 
mas feast, 133 ; goes to work, 134; in 
a jam factory, 135; goes a-hopping, 
136; a day at factory, 137 ; breakfast, 
137; dinner, 137, 138; on strike, 141 ; 
independence of, 143; ladies' club, 
143 ; bank holiday, 144; at seventeen, 
147 ; on Sunday, 147 ; her sweetheart, 
148; marriage of, 150; a wife and a 
mother, 151 

London, the old families, 34; devours 
her children, 34; vanismng of old 
families of, 35 ; influx of new blood, 
36; the port of, 41, 42; docks, 68; 



street, 119, 120; a dty of rcfiige, 187; 

and the alien, 187, Coanty Coandl, 

225; School Board, 332 
Long hoars of idleness, 289 
Lord Mayor's fimd, 343 
Lowe, Bob, 141 
Lacas, 281 

Man, two yarieties of, 56 

Manor of Bishop of London, 4 

Match tax, 141 

May-day, 290 

Medland Hall, 248 

M. A. B. Y. S., 337 

Memories of the past, Chapter X. 

Millwall Dock, 95 

More, Sir Thomas, 7, 279, 280 

Morley, Samoel, 276 

Music halls, 322 

Nantes, Edict of, 188 
New docker, the, 52 

Okey, John, 271 

Opium den, 205 

Organized robbery, 48 

Osborne, Jav, the Rev., 329; work of, 
^30 ; the boxing dass, 330 ; the doss- 
house, 331 

Overcrowdmg, 213, 214; a million 
affected, 218; case of A. B., 218; 
vitiation of air, 217 

Palace of bishop, 7 

Palatines, the, 188, 278 

Parish work, 327; unpaid assistants, 

Past, the man who loves the, 54 

People, housing of, 221 

People's PaLice, 297, 312, 313, 334 

Pepys, 91 

Persian scholar in East London, 204 

Peter, St, ad Vincnla, 60 

Polish Tews, 192 

Polytedmics, 333 

Poor, generosity of, I2I 

Populiur recreation ground, 304 

Population of East London, 8 ; propor- 
tion of those bom, 36; rapid increase, 

Port of Billingsgate, andent, 52 

Port of London, A. D. 1400,40; increase 
of trade, 48; Riverside people, 48; 
A. D. i;^x>, 48; lightermen formerly 
organized plunderers, 51 

Prisoners, wreck of manhood, 351 ; wel- 

comed in the Salvation Army, 247, 


Pnsons, 352, 353, 357 

Raines Giarity, 68, 71 

Ratcliffe, 81; highway, 71 ; stairs, 81, 

85 ; cross, 82 ; shipwrights' company, 

82 ; the Italian ghost, 07 
Refu|[e, the dty of, 187 
Religion, indifference, not hatred, 37 
Rent, increase of, 211 
Rescue of Foreshore, 1 10 
Revolution, French, 181 
River Lea, 309 
Riverside, 48 

Riverwall, 103, 104, 105, 107, 109, 112 
Rowe, Owen, 271 

St. Austin's Church, 192 

St Katharine's by the Tower, 65 ; dock, 
62; liberty of, 65; destruction of, 
66; Regent's Park, 66 

Salvation Army barracks, 224 ; shelters 
of the, 248; the farm, 353; social 
work, 350 ; lodging houses, 350 ; work 
shops, 350 ; prisoners, 247, 353 ; does 
it pay? 354; the modem friars, 357; 
a company of self-denying workers, 

Sandwich man, the, 240 

Scholarships, 334 ; possibilities of, 3^ 

School children, 332 ; humanizing inmi- 

ence of, 332 
Settlement, the, and lads, 307; origin 

of, 344 ; working of, 345 ; what it is, 

Shackle well Green, 286; and Sir Thomas 

More, 286; Shad well, 79 
Shakspere, 47 
Shopkeepers, no amusement for the 

smaller sort, 311 
Shipwrights' Company, 82 
Sick, care of, 337 
Slums, 323; exaggeration of novelists, 

Smith, Dr. William, 274 

South London, barracks in, 222 

Spitalfields and French, 188 

Sports and Pastimes, Chapter XL; in 
the street, 310 

Stepney, 7 

StoKe Newington, Dr. Aikin, 275 ; Mrs. 
Barbauld, 275; Church Street, 269; 
Thomas Day, 276 ; Defoe, 274 ; Isaac 
Disraeli, 275 ; Fleetwood House, 273 ; 
nonconformity in, 270; Puritan lead- 
ers in, 271 ; John Okey, 271 ; Pala- 



tines, 278; E. Allan Poe,277; Owen 
Rowe, 271 

Stow, 59, 07 

Stratford Langthorn, III 

Strype, 67 

Submerged, of all classes, 220 ; where 
found, 230 ; of tbe eighteenth century, 
232; inoffensive, 233; causes of 
wreck, 233; in police court, 234; the 
case of A. A., 237; in the Sixpenny 
Hotel, 238; in Oxford Street, 239; 
of various trades, 240 ; the odd job, 
241 ; pennyworths, 241 ; the sand- 
wich man, 244 ; ten thousand of them, 
251 ; a lower depth still, 250 

Suburban life changing, 261 ; destruc- 
tion of city social lite, 257; dullness 
of, 258 ; clubs and amusements, 261 ; 
awakening of society, 261 ; theatres 
in, 261 

Suburbs, growth of, 67 

Sunday lectures, 339 

Sutton, Thomas, 280 

Swedish Church, 73 

Technical Education Board, 333 

chool, 159 ; 
leaves school, 160; prospects, 100; 

The lad of the street, 1 56 ; at school, 159 ; 

what he knows, 161 ; nis temptations, 
162 ; the barges left in the mud, 165 ; 
his pair of hands, 165 ; dty boys, 166 ; 
railway for, 166; factories for, 167; 
van and horse, 167; beer boy, 167; 
meals, 168; porter's work, 108; de- 
generation of, 171; long evenings, 
171; bovs' clubs, 172; classes, 172; 
music halls, 1 73, 181 ; mimicry of, 1 74 ; 

casual hand, 177; street amusements, 

177; at Epsom, 177; Hooligans, 177; 

street fights, 177; the Reformatory, 

17^; gamblers, 178; reading, 181; 

keeps company, 181 ; ordeal of street, 

182 ; loafers, 183 
Theatre regarded with horror, 258 
Thousands driven out homeless, 222 
Tower Hill, 55, 56; terrace on, S5, 56, 

^9, 61 ; of London, 59 ; bridge, 61, 62 ; 

liberties, 66 
Toynbee HaU, lectures at,. 311 
Tramps and rogues, 250 
Trinity almshouses, 341 
Turpi|i, Dick, 282 

Wall by river, 103 

Wappinp, school and churchyard, 73, 
74 ; old stairs, 77 ; recreation ground, 

Ward, John, 281 

Wat Tyler, 7 

Watts, Dr. Isaac, 268, 273 

West Ham, 7, 214 

West India Dock Road, 203 

West India Docks, 95 

Whit Monday, 298 

Whitechapel picture exhibition, 296 

Whittington, 47 

Willoughby, Sir Hugh, 85 

Winter amusements, 310 

Woodcock, Captain, 272 

Workhouse, the, 349 

Working class, better sort, 119 

Yarmouth Church, why closed, 303